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Josie returns for Thunder

Josie Huckle has re-signed for Manchester Thunder ahead of the next Netball Superleague season.

After an impressive debut season at Manchester Thunder, defender Josie Huckle has been rewarded with a contract at Thunder for the 2024 season. The ex-Wasps goal keeper quickly cemented her place in the starting seven, and became an integral part of the Manchester Thunder defensive unit, making the top ten leaderboard in the Netball Super League for the most turnovers and deflections.

When Wasps went into administration ahead of the 2023 season, special permission was granted by the Netball Super League to bring in Wasps players as training partners. Thunder quickly identified Huckle’s talent in defence and signed her up, and due to an injury to Yasmin Roebuck, which ruled her out of the season, Huckle was drafted into the main Super League squad.

Huckle said, “When I was called up into the squad of twelve, it was a really bitter-sweet conversation I had with Karen [Greig]. I was gutted for Yas, as it’s never nice replacing a player that’s gone down with injury. Everyone says ‘is it really exciting?’ but exciting is the wrong word to use, as for me personally it was a second chance as I knew I wasn’t going to play that year due to what happened with Wasps. However, it was a great opportunity for me and I’m really glad Karen took the chance on me to firstly sign me as a training partner and then the opportunity to come into the twelve.”

“My highlight last season was just getting on the court and playing. I was so lucky to be asked by Thunder to join and just being on the court, learning new combinations and actually being coached by a different coach. I never would have had the opportunity to be coached by Karen and Gabs [Towell] before, so getting that was amazing. I know the Semi-Final didn’t go our way but I loved it. I love being back playing top four netball and I think it’s put a lot of fire in our bellies for a point to prove this season.”

“It’s absolutely amazing to be on the right side of the Thunder family. Coming as an away team to Thunder is quite daunting so it was great to be on the right side of that amazing Belle Vue crowd, and they’re so welcoming. The Thunder Family is massive, it’s bonkers big and having that massive support network is incredible.”

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, Huckle said, “I just want to keep building on what I was starting to produce by the end of last season. I think Karen and Gabs have managed to get something great out of me, and I think I’m playing some of my best netball. I just want to keep growing, keep learning and keep contributing as best I can for Manchester Thunder.”

Head coach and Director of Manchester Thunder Karen Greig, says, “I’m delighted to have Josie back with us for the 2024 season. She really embraced the Thunder way last season and became an integral part of our defence unit. Josie was a huge voice for us at the back and thrived turning over ball for us. I am looking forward to having her back up North.”

As well as being a professional athlete, Huckle is also a full time P.E teacher. She said, “My school kids are very cute. Half of them have no idea who I am and some of them do know which is quite exciting. I’m so lucky to actually have some of the kids come and support me. A couple of them came up to Manchester for the master classes which they loved. A trip was also planned for when we played Mavericks away where they watched my 150th Netball Super League appearance. It’s good for the kids to see that I can balance a full time job and be a professional athlete and hopefully do both jobs quite well!”

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