Jodie Gibson, Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm join Superleague franchise Severn Stars
Last Updated: 07/09/16 11:15am
Vitality Superleague newcomers Severn Stars have announced England internationals Jodie Gibson, Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm as their first three players.
The Stars are starting from scratch as one of three new franchises for the expanded 10-team season which gets underway in February and their first recruits all join from last year's runners-up Manchester Thunder.
Pamela Cookey has been confirmed as the Stars director of netball alongside former Australia international Mo'onia Gerrard who has joined as head coach - and Cookey believes the early recruitment of three current England internationals makes a huge statement of intent.
"It's fabulous to get our signings rolling and these three will be a great addition to the team," Cookey said.
"One for each area of the court. Looking forward to seeing what they can do in our colours. Exciting times ahead!"
"Our aim is to develop England's next generation and we are stepping in the right direction with Jodie, Eleanor and Laura who are in the current England squad. We are really excited to have them on board as they are Stars in their own right."
Severn Stars head coach Mo'onia Gerrard
All three players have just returned from international duty where they played for England at the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand where Tracey Neville's team finished third after ending on a high with victory over South Africa on Sunday
2017 Quad Series
Roses are joined on home soil by SA, NZ and Australia - tickets available with Sky Tickets
Defender Gibson has Superleague experience with Loughborough Lightning and Manchester and moves to the Stars where she will combine playing with a Sports degree at the University of Worcester.
"I am looking forward to the upcoming Superleague season with Severn Stars," said Gibson.
"This is an exciting opportunity with a brand new franchise. I am really excited to start pre season with the squad and to start working with head coach Mo'onia Gerrard."
Malcolm is another making the switch from Thunder and is ready for the challenge awaiting as Stars look to establish themselves in the Superleague.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the brand new franchise Severn Stars this VNSL season," said Malcolm,
"Although Thunder will always be an incredibly special franchise to me sometimes as an athlete you need to step out of your comfort zone and throw yourself into a new challenge. Working in a completely new environment with Ex-Aussie Diamond, Mo'onia Gerrard, will undoubtedly provide me with that challenge and I can't wait to be put to the test!
"Last but not least I'm delighted to be playing for a franchise closer to home and to be representing the Midlands. I wish Thunder all the best for the upcoming season and I look forward to a new chapter in my netball career."
And the third recruit, shooter Cardwell is also keen to get going: "I'm very excited to say that I'll be putting the Seven Stars dress on for the 2017 season. This has been a tough decision for me as Manchester Thunder has been the only Superleague team I've played for, I can't thank them enough for everything they've done for me as a player.
"I've had a great time at Thunder, I've had some amazing coaches and team mates but I'm ready for a new challenge. I wish them all the best for this season.
"Having said this Seven Stars provides a great opportunity to develop as a player and I'm very much excited to work with Mo'onia and all the staff. The talks I've had with this new franchise has created confidence in the move I'm making and I'm very optimistic for this season."
As the squad starts to take shape, it promises to be an exciting time for the Stars as they pull together their 12-team roster for the new season.
"This is excellent news for the Severn Stars and sends out a clear message about our desire to put an exciting team on the court."
Severn Stars franchise director Mick Donovan.
Stars are understandably delighted with the first of the arrivals and franchise director Anita Navin believes the addition of three Roses internationals in each of the areas of the court will be great for the team dynamic.
"This trio of England athletes gives us a great platform to achieve our ambitions in the Vitality Superleague," said franchise director Anita Navin.
"We made it quite clear we were committed to developing our young England internationals and the three will no doubt excel.
"We all look forward to welcoming our first three stars and most of all we will support them as players to achieve their ambitions.