Netball: Manchester Thunder sign Australian star Chelsea Pitman
Last Updated: 19/07/14 12:39pm
Reigning Netball Superleague champions Manchester Thunder have signed Australian international midcourter Chelsea Pitman.
Pitman, 26, has penned a one-year contract to become the club's overseas player for the 2015 season.
The versatile player, who can play at goal attack, centre and wing attack, last played for West Coast Fever in the Trans-Tasman ANZ Championship.
PItman is in the midst of a year-long break from netball to pursue her other love – boxing. The Sydney-born star played her final ANZ game in the Fever’s 51-44 win over Central Pulse in June.
The player, who stands at 5’11 ½” (181cm), joins her New Zealand rugby star boyfriend Kevin Locke in the UK, following his move to Super League side Salford Red Devils.
Full-back Locke, 25, signed for the rugby league side as their marquee overseas player in May on a three-year contract from the New Zealand Warriors.
Pitman said: “'I am extremely excited about joining the girls at Manchester Thunder and challenging myself to learn a different style of netball.
“I can't wait to start the hard yakka of preseason come the end of this year and get to know my new team mates. A new chapter for me in a new country with a new team...I just can't wait”
Pitman, who also played for the Queensland Firebirds and Canterbury Tactix in the ANZ, brings a wealth of experience to Thunder and was in the Australian national squad who retained their world title in 2011.
Thunder coach Tracey Neville said: “ To recruit a world championship gold medalist to Manchester Thunder’s squad for this coming season will bring no doubt a lift to the girls.
“Having followed Chelsea in the latter stages of the ANZ finals last season I witnessed first-hand her intensity and work rate through the court and how she applies herself in the goal third and onto the circle edge.
“Her strength is undoubtedly her eye for the circle from both long and short range, something at MT we drastically need to add to our game this year.
“Her versatility across three positions will endeavor to build on the squad system I have been sanctioning over the last three years and will push players further to perform as we had the pleasure of witnessing last year.
“We are looking forward to welcoming her at the ‘dome' and know that she will be welcomed by all."