Leeds Rhinos Netball continue to make big strides forward says Vicki Oyesola

SEVEN games into their first league campaign in the Vitality Superleague and after Monday evening’s hard-fought 42-38 victory over Severn Stars, Leeds Rhinos’ Vicki Oyesola believes her team have adapted to the league extremely well, given the tough circumstances.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 6:45 am
FULLO STEAM AHEAD: Leeds Rhinos' Vicki Oyesola, right, battles with Razia Quashie of Saracens Mavericks. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

“I feel so privileged to go out and play the sport I love,” said the goal defence player. “Especially because others can’t take this opportunity due to the pandemic, so I’m very thankful.”

Oyesola says the team always try to create a supportive atmosphere during games with no fans being allowed into venues due to current Covid-19 guidelines.

She added: “For us, we viewed it as a must to build a strong support system within our team, so we all try and make as much noise on court as possible so we can build up an atmosphere.”

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FULL STRETCH: Leeds Rhinos' Vicki Oyesola. Picture: Jan Kruger/Getty Images.

Rhinos have made an impressive start to their first season in Superleague, winning four and losing three of their first seven games, even without fans to cheer them on and Oyesola has revealed the team are “seeing support from Yorkshire continue to grow”.

The defender felt the Rhinos’ competitive edge came out on Monday night, proving they can ‘win ugly’ in a tightly-contested match.

“It was much more contested than we thought it was going to be,” added Oyesola. “But I think it showed we can grind out a win when we have to, even in uncomfortable circumstances.”

Next up for the Rhinos is a game against Manchester Thunder tomorrow at Studio 001 in Wakefield.

Thunder currently have the same amount of points as Leeds but have a game in hand on their Roses rivals and Oyesola knows her team will have to be at their best to claim victory. She said: ‘We know we need to put out a very strong performance.”

Oyesola, who had previously represented both Saracens Mavericks and Loughborough Lightning before joining Rhinos in 2021, said her decision to link up with Dan Ryan was because of the coach’s vision of “creating a strong and diverse team of people with different experiences” and feels the Rhinos boss has done a great job bringing in super experienced players such as Jade Clarke among others.

She added: “All the girls bring plenty of different strengths to the team.”

It is these strengths that the defender hopes will push the team to qualify for the play-offs in June.

However, for now, the focus is just on making sure the team improves game on game.

“We’ve got to try and build upon each game and make sure it’s a better performance than the last one they produced,” she said.

The Rhinos game against Manchester Thunder starts at noon tomorrow and can be viewed live on Sky Sports’ YouTube channel.

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