Leeds Rhinos Netball look to bring the game back to the fans

Leeds Rhinos are bringing netball back to the fans for the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague season.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 8:29 am

The fourth-place finishers played their inaugural 2021 season behind closed doors and are excited to welcome fans to the court for home and away fixtures in 2022.

Caretaker head coach Maggie Birkenshaw wants to highlight the importance of the fans by creating a format which lets everyone come and support their team.

“We want to truly be a regional franchise and take the game across the region and over all the counties,” said Birkenshaw. “We are excited to get back on the court in front of home fans, they truly are our eighth player.”

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Leeds Rhinos Netball's Brie Grierson in action during this year's Vitality Netball Superleague semi-final match with Loughborough Lightning. Picture: Morgan Harlow/Getty Images.

Rhinos are yet to announce where their matches will be played next season but are looking to reveal this venue, or venues in the coming weeks.

But there are hopes that an across-county format could see the introduction of new netball fans throughout Yorkshire as Birkenshaw looks to grow the game in the county.

“The inaugural season far surpassed our expectations ending up at the grand final weekend and most people will be excited to see whether we can back it up and get back to where we were last season,” said Birkenshaw.

“We want to start the season how we ended, and our aim is always to be top four again.”

Leeds Rhinos players in the huddle during the Vitality Netball Superleague finals in London this year. Picture: Chloe Knott/Getty Images.

England Netball yesterday announced all fixtures for the forthcoming 2022 season.

Rhinos will face Loughborough Lightning in a packed season-opening event at Birmingham Resorts Arena on February 5 and 6.

The Leeds team will go up against the reigning champions in a packed weekend of netball which will see all 11 Superleague teams play their opening rounds in a celebration of the league’s return in front of fans.

The regular season will then use a home and away format over 20 weeks before the grand final on Sunday, June 5, with the long-awaited Rhinos v Manchester Thunder re-match taking place in round seven.

“With clubs returning to home venues, and fans able to return to support their teams and enjoy live match action once again, it promises to be another exciting season ahead for the league and everyone involved in making it a success cannot wait for February to get it under way,” said Steve Elworthy, chair of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The season-opening matches will be televised on Sky Sports channels and live on Sky Sports YouTube across the weekend.

General sale tickets are available from November 8 and the full Rhinos fixtures can be viewed at netballsl.com.