New captain, new signing and new look for Yorkshire Jets in 2016

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Squad announced for Vitality Netball Superleague 2016 – Stacey Francis to captain Jets – Leading South African netballer Vanes-Mari du Toit set to join team

Yorkshire Jets are today naming their new look squad for the Vitality Netball Superleague 2016 season.

After the successful 2015 season, Anna Carter has made a series of high-profile signings who will play alongside young and emerging netballers and experienced Jets players who return to the side.

The Jets Head Coach also today announces that England international Stacey Francis will captain their squad with returning Jets star, and Wales international, Kylie Paynter, being vice-captain.

There is also another new signing for the squad with one of South Africa’s leading netballers, Vanes-Mari du Toit – capped 38 times for her country, joining Jets.

Captain & Vice Captain

 27-year old Stacey Francis, who played for England at this summer’s World Cup in Sydney, will captain the team. The defender has won over 50 caps for her country and will bring that leadership to the court for Jets in 2016. She said: “I am fortunate to have a relatively small list of things that I have yet to accomplish in netball. However, captaining a team is on there. I am humbled that Anna and Maggie have the belief in me to lead our 2016 campaign and I look forward to the new and exciting challenges that lie ahead.”

Sheffield-born Kylie Paynter will be Jets vice-captain as she returns to Superleague. She played for Jets between 2012 and 14 and, before that, for Celtic Dragons. The 27-year old mid-court player has eight international caps for Wales.

New Signing

One of South Africa’s leading netballers is also named in the squad for 2016 in a further boost for Anna Carter’s Jets.

Vanes-Mari du Toit has been a trailblazer for the sport in her home country. She was part of the 2011 South Africa Proteas World Cup squad and has won 38 caps for her country.

The 26-year old from Cape Town was the first from her country to be invited to an Australian ANZ franchise in 2013 when she played for Adelaide Thunderbirds. She can play at both ends of the court – as goal shooter and goal defence.

On joining Jets for the 2016 season, subject to final approval of her visa, she said: “I am truly honoured and very excited to have an opportunity to become part of the Yorkshire Jets family and to contribute and work towards another successful season for the Jets.

“Netball has always been one of the biggest passions in my life, and I’m so delighted to be joining a dynamic environment with the Jets and competing in a world class league. “Having the opportunity to play alongside great players like Stacey Francis and Maria Lutua will allow me to develop as a player and perform on a high level.

“I will be available to play both GS and GK, and look forward to work with the coaching staff under the leadership of Anna Carter to develop on every possible position.”

The Squad 

Stacey, Kylie and Vanes-Mari make up a 15-strong squad named by Jets which also includes the England U21s Jess Shaw and Lydia Walker, overseas stars Maria Lutua, from Fiji, and Sophie Halpin, from Australia, and the return of experienced Superleague players, and former Jets stars, Kate Lightfoot and Alex Kirk.

Two Yorkshire teenagers are also part of the squad for the first time – 17-year old Imogen Allison from Elland and 19-year old Lucy Harris from Leeds.

The coaching team remains unchanged from the successful 2015 season, led by Head Coach Anna Carter with Assistant Coaches Maggie Birkinshaw and Vicky Palmer and Team Manager Gerry Plant.

Anna Carter said: “My squad for 2016 is an exciting mix of leading netballers from around the country and the world, young and developing talent and familiar Jets faces who are returning to Superleague.

“There are internationals from England, Wales, Australia, Fiji and South Africa within the 15 who will play alongside the stars of the future, something we are committed to at Jets. I welcome back Jess Shaw, Lydia Walker, Bea Skingsley and Megan Clark and congratulate Imogen Allison, Lucy Harris and Ellie Smith who make their debuts in the squad.

“With so many changes across Superleague since the end of last season and more attention on the sport than ever before, it promises to be an exciting, thrilling and unpredictable 2016. We can’t wait to get on court at Super Saturday to begin the season.”

The full squad is:

  • Vanes-Mari du Toit (subject to visa)
  • Alex Kirk
  • Maria Lutua
  • Ellie Smith
  • Lucy Harris
  • Imogen Allison
  • Jess Shaw
  • Lydia Walker
  • Sophie Halpin
  • Kylie Paynter (vice-captain)
  • Lucy Richardson
  • Stacey Francis  (captain)
  • Bea Skingsley
  • Megan Clark
  • Kate Lightfoot

Tickets are on sale for Yorkshire Jets games in the Vitality Netball Superleague – they are available here.

Above photo is of Yorkshire Jets captain and vice-captain Stacey Francis and Kylie Paynter.

Report courtesy of Yorkshire Jets.