Metcalf stays at Thunder
Captain Natalie Metcalf is staying at Manchester Thunder for the new Netball Superleague season.
Fresh from the superlative silver medal win at the Netball World Cup, England Roses co-captain, Natalie Metcalf, has re-signed for another season with Manchester Thunder. With inspiring leadership skills and unrivalled ability on the ball, Metcalf’s return is a huge bolster to Thunder’s mid-court, as she joins England team-mates Imogen Allison and Amy Carter who have already been announced in the 2024 squad.
Thirty-year-old Metcalf said, “I absolutely love the environment at Thunder, and I think the people are incredible. The players are amazing, the coaches, the staff, everyone. It’s a massive, combined effort to make Thunder who they are and there’s a massive family feel amongst the team. Thinking about playing for Thunder again this season is really exciting.”
Signing from Australia’s New South Wales Swifts at the start of the 2022 season, Metcalf quickly helped Manchester Thunder make history by going unbeaten for all 22 games and winning the Netball Super League trophy. In 2023, with the departure of captain Laura Malcolm, head coach, Karen Greig, appointed Metcalf as captain, and built a strong leadership team with Kerry Almond and Shadine van der Merwe as vice-captains.
In the 2023 season, Metcalf topped the Netball Super League table with 622 feeds, as well as scoring 51 goals when she played as Goal Attack. Metcalf said, “In the 2023 season, I loved the coming together of a new group and it was a new chapter for us. We welcomed lots of girls back to Thunder after their time away, and I think to get that camaraderie amongst the group and play with new players was really exciting, and what we achieved was amazing.”
Karen Greig said, “I could not be happier to re-sign our captain fantastic, and Nat is invaluable to us both on and off the court. On court she has the most amazing skill to sight a pass in a split second and deliver a pinpoint pass. Her work ethic both in attack and defence sees her to continually put out solid performances for us. Off court she was the perfect leader in 2023, and her ability to pull together a group of athletes with different personalities and really continue to grow our family culture is really precious to us. I can’t wait to have Nat back in the fold next season.’
Looking at the season ahead, Metcalf said, “I think that we’re definitely going for that title. I think any time you start a season that’s your goal, and that’s what we want to aim for. We fell short in 2023 at not becoming defending champions but I think finishing in third was something we were all really proud of and we want to go one better and get into that final and we want to bring that trophy home for 2024.”
Talking about her recent Netball World Cup campaign, Metcalf said, “It was an amazing honour to co-captain alongside Layla Guscoth. We’ve grown up through the ranks in our England program together, so to captain alongside her was an incredible honour and just to put on the red dress and play for England in the World Cup Final and get on that podium with a silver medal was an incredible achievement.”
Manchester Thunder have recently announced that ex-captain and current England Rose team-mate, Laura Malcolm, is returning to Thunder as a new technical support coach. As someone Metcalf has played with throughout her netball journey she said, “I think she’s [Laura] going to be brilliant. I think as a coach or player, Malcolm is one of the smartest players I’ve ever come across. She loves the game, she loves learning about the game, and she loves sharing her knowledge, so I’m definitely going to be picking her brain every game for tactics and insight. I think for her to step into this role, Thunder is massively appreciative and grateful to have her back on board. She had an incredible season out in New Zealand, so to welcome her back in this new role is something we are excited about.”