Rhinos sign star shooter
Leeds Rhinos Netball are delighted to announce the signing of goal shooter Ellie Bird for their 2023 squad for the upcoming Vitality Netball Superleague.
Bird, who is 1.96m tall, has played for the past five years in the ANZ Premiership with Tactix and last year scored 484 goals with a goal percentage of 90.80%. She has average 534 goals in her time at Tactix, her best season coming in 2021 when she scored 647 and helped her team through to the Grand Final. She is a big physical presence in the shooting circle and comes with a record as a highly accurate shooter.
The 29-year-old started her netball career in her hometown of Hawkes Bay, before playing for Wellington in the NPC. From there she was contacted by her former coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek to play in Christchurch for the Mainland team in the second-tier Beko League, where she impressed and earned a call into the Tactix side midway through the 2017 season to make her ANZ Premiership debut. She has also represented New Zealand A in 2019 and 2020 and was part of the Silver Ferns Development squad between 2018 and 2020.
Bird has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainable Management and will combine playing alongside a role with the flood risk management team at Leeds City Council.
Speaking about signing for Leeds Bird said: “I am really looking forward to joining the Rhinos, it’s going to be an exciting new chapter with a new team with a different style of netball and I think it’s going to be good for my game.
“I do have a lot of family in the UK as my mum is English, so it has been on my mind for a few years now to come over and play in Superleague and this year I have been brave enough to take the leap.
“It will be good to work with Liana Leota, obviously she has a lot of technical and tactical coaching skills, so I’m keen to see how I will develop under her.”
Leeds Rhinos Netball head coach, Liana Leota said: “I am so pleased to have Ellie Bird at the Rhinos. She has family over here and has a UK passport so I am delighted she has now decided to head over to test herself in the UK and I think she will have a great season with us.
“She’s a tall target shooter, with a high percentage shot so if we want to play that quick scoring game we have the ability to do with her. I am excited to work with her and am sure she will be a big hit with our fans.”
Ellie is the ninth player to be confirmed for the Rhinos for the 2023 Vitality Netball Superleague season. She joins Brie Grierson, Vicki Oyesola, Michelle Magee, Rosie Harris, Nia Jones, Caroline O’Hanlon, Mille Sanders and Paige Reed.