Jodie Gibson

Jodie has been speaking to Mavs website ahead of “The Headliner”

For the first time, Saracens Mavericks are taking a fixture to the iconic venue and the club captain is thrilled to be a part of the historic occasion. Reflecting on the moment that she and the squad found out they were playing a fixture at the arena, Gibson admitted that it al felt a bit surreal.

“We’re very excited. I remember when we first got told we were playing at Wembley. We were all sat down as a new group getting to know each other and a lot of us couldn’t believe it. Now we’re here, it feels really surreal, but I’m so excited for this opportunity and to be one of the players creating history this weekend by running out onto court. It’s going to be a memory that lasts a lifetime.”

Last weekend against Severn Stars, Mavericks just lost out in a thriller at Herts Sports Village. Gibson admitted that there was a lot of disappointment in the result, but insisted attention was now firmly focused on a table-topping Thunder side who will pose multiple challenges out on court.

“We were disappointed with the result against Severn Stars. When you think of Manchester Thunder, you think of a side that are consistently one of the best in the league. If you want to be the best, you have to play against and beat the best. I can’t think of a better side for us to face in this arena fixture and we can’t wait to play. Against a team like Thunder, it’s all about how you can break them down early and find your consistency on court. You can’t allow them to build their confidence, so for us it’s all about how we can maintain our structures. On Friday against Stars, we saw that in parts, but we need to do it across all four quarters and there’s no better place to do that than at Wembley.”

Mavericks and Thunder met in pre-season, with plenty of positives coming out of the fixture for the side. Gibson was quick to note that her side have come on leaps and bounds since that match though, as they prepare to meet again.

“The pre-season game against Thunder had some brilliant moments. We’ve grown so much as a team since that match and combinations that we were still testing have now become more cohesive. We are a different team to the one we were then and it’s an exciting chance to test ourselves against the best. We’re ready to bring it.”

The atmosphere at Herts Sports Village is one that is always talked about in a positive light. For Gibson, the chance to amplify that on Sunday afternoon at OVO Arena Wembley is one that she will not forget in a hurry, as she and her teammates look to create history.

“I get absolute goosebumps just thinking about it. Herts Sports Village for me is one of the greatest venues in the NSL. The fans are there with you through every moment. To know that we’re about to step out at an arena like Wembley, with them behind us and so many more is incredibly special. To have our family, our friends and our pathway players in that crowd too is an extra motivation and I know that running out onto that court is going to be a moment I never forget in my career.”

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