Anna Carter has challenged her Yorkshire Jets side to improve upon their “fantastic performance” of last year, when they exceeded expectations by finishing third in the Netball Superleague, writes Stephanie Howe.
The Yorkshire side’s top-four finish saw them contest the end-of-season play-offs, and althought they were knocked out in the semi-finals, Carter believes they can once again be in the hunt for trophies.
Despite a 54-33 defeat against Team Northumbria in a practice game in November, the Jets coach is confident in their training and said: “Our expectations for the season are to at least finish in the top four again, but the league is wide open and we anticipate no easy games this season.”
As they gear up for their first game against Loughborough Lightning on January 30, Carter is thrilled about the international signings they have made.
The Jets have recruited Fijian international shooter, Maria Lutuai and Australian international, Sophie Halpin, among others.
She said: “We have really good players on board and exciting international players who bring a different dynamic to the team.
“I think it’s fantastic to get different influences and styles. The Aussies are known for their high work ethic and Sophie loves to win, and on the other side of the court we have Maria, who brings flair to the game.”
Six players left the Jets at the end of last season, but Carter moved swiftly to further offset those losses with the signing of England player Stacey Francis, who has more than 50 caps and was immediately installed as Yorkshire’s captain.
The 27-year-old defender has been resting and will not be part of the England side to face Australia in a test series which begins next Wednesday. “Stacey has taken a year out of international play after a busy Commonwealth Games – she is definitely due a rest,” said Carter.
The coach has also faced a challenge of her own over the last season, as she gave birth to her third child. “It has been tough getting the balance right, but with a supportive husband and family, it soon becomes manageable,” she said.
All eight teams in the Superleague will play on January 30, with. Yorkshire playing Loughborough in Birmingham.