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International stars flock to Super Netball

Ball control: Helen Housby is thrilled to be playing for the Swifts. Photo: Narelle Spangher/Netball NSWIt’s not just broadcasters and sponsors who want a piece of Super Netball.
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The eight-team competition has attracted some of England’s best players for its first season, including shooter Helen Housby who will make her debut for the NSW Swifts in the Sydney derby against the Giants on Saturday.

Coach Rob Wright was in desperate need of some attacking firepower after losing Susan Pettitt to the Giants and Caitlin Thwaites to Collingwood. He turned to the English Superleague for reinforcement.

Housby, 22, who already boasts 30 caps for England, was happy to sign a two-year contract.

“A lot of the England girls in the past have come over here and come back such better athletes and so much better at netball,” Housby said.

“The new sponsorship and the new TV deal, it’s just taking netball to a new area and I think it’s something that hasn’t been done before in women’s sport.

“It’s quite exciting and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come over here this year. It’s the first season of the competition and everything’s brand new, there’s a lot of movement with players.

“It was a good time for a lot of imports to come over and put their stamp on the competition.”

Housby is one of 16 imports in the new competition that has replaced last year’s trans-Tasman ANZ Championship. She returned to last week after featuring for England in the recent international Quad Series.

She featured in the one-point loss to this month and said that tournament had primed her for what was to come in ‘s new domestic competition.

“We could’ve won that game, we were going toe for toe and arguably I’d say we were the better team throughout the match but the ability and the knowledge of the ns shone through – they know how to win games,” Housby said.

“It was a really good prep to come out here and play the league. I feel sharp and I feel really happy with my netball.

“The Commonwealth Games is coming up and the Netball World Cup is going to be in Liverpool in 2019 and that’s the big thing that all English netballers are gunning for.

“Coming out here and playing in this league is only going to improve my netball and that’s going to help me get into the England team.

“I can really see myself settling down here and extending my contract and really becoming part of the Swifts brand.”

Housby’s immediate task is to impact against a star-studded Giants outfit many have tipped as one of the teams to beat this season.

Pettitt and captain Kimberlee Green switched to Sydney’s newest club after the Swifts lost last season’s ANZ Championship decider to the Queensland Firebirds in a double-overtime thriller.

Of the players who lost that grand final, only captain Abbey McCulloch, Paige Hadley and Maddy Turner remain in Swifts colours this season.

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