B2022 star set to join Rhinos
Leeds Rhinos Netball has confirmed the signing of South African emerging talent Elmerè van der Berg for the 2023 Vitality Netball Superleague season, subject to visa approval.
The 21-year-old, who is 1.91m tall, plays goal shooter and goal attack and is tipped to be one of the stars of the future, having impressed with the national team since making her debut last year.
Van der Berg started playing in Primary School and then progressed in High School and earned a call-up to represent Free State. She was first selected for the Baby Proteas in 2017 as part of the Under-16s team that won the Cossasa Games in Lesotho. More international honours came in 2018 with South Africa Under-20s and then the Under-21 between 2019 and 2021.
She has played for North West University in the Varsity, winning the Player of the Match award in the game against The University of Pretoria and played in the Telkom Netball League with Flames. The Bloemfontein-born player was called into the SPAR Proteas in 2021 to make her debut in the Africa Cup. A year later she was one of 24 players, alongside fellow new Rhinos signing Nicola Smith, who were given a contract by South Africa and went onto play in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham where she was one of the stand out players for her team. She scored 139 goals from 148 attempts and had 22 goal assists from 25 feeds and six rebounds. Last month she continued her impressive form with South Africa and was named best shooter in the Africa Netball World Cup Qualifiers.
Speaking about joining the Rhinos van der Berg said: “I am very excited about getting the opportunity to play in Super League with the Rhinos and to experience the system of how netball works over in the UK. I know it’s going to be a competitive season as Superleague has some of the best players from all over the world. I have spoken to some of my South African team mates who play in Superleague and they said every game will be hard and there will be regular training, which I think will help me develop as a player.”
Leeds Rhinos Netball head coach Liana Leota said: “I think she is a superstar of the future, she had an amazing Commonwealth Games, she can play both goal attack and goal shooter. She’s a high percentage shooter but moves really well for someone that is so big in the goal attack and is really creative. I know many people will be excited at the prospect of her playing in Superleague and I can’t wait to work with her and see how she develops.”
Van der Berg completes the 12 player Rhinos Netball squad for the 2023 season, joining Brie Grierson, Vicki Oyesola, Michelle Magee, Rosie Harris, Nia Jones, Caroline O’Hanlon, Mille Sanders, Paige Reed, Ellie Bird, Elle McDonald and Nicola Smith.