Lindsay Keable shares her belief in London Pulse ahead of Vitality Netball Superleague season
"We really want to win. We’ve got an amazing team; we will not come last. There’s no way we will ever come last this season"
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 18/02/20 1:14pm
The determination in Lindsay Keable's eyes is clear as she says that there's "no way" London Pulse will come last this Vitality Netball Superleague season.
After nine years wearing Black and Purple, the 31-year-old arrived from Saracens Mavericks in the off-season and cannot wait to get on court with Pulse for the Season Opener on Saturday.
Pulse, who finished at the foot of the table last season, will be first on court against Strathclyde Sirens at Arena Birmingham and are fiercely determined to make waves.
"We really want to win. We've got an amazing team; we will not come last," Keable said to Sky Sports ahead of a pre-season training session.
"There's no way that we will ever come last this season."
"There will be some teams who will dismiss us and think that there's nothing to worry about when it comes to us. But the fact that we're such a team makes us a force to be reckoned with."
Despite having a wealth of new players and a new head coach, the unity within the group is already there and is driving their work.
Head coach Samantha Bird has brought together some of the country's most talented young players - England Futures, U21 and U19 athletes - to join the likes of Keable, Michelle Drayne, Jamaican international Adean Thomas and the SPAR Proteas' Sigi Burger.
With an average age of just 22, there's a youthful energy at their heart and it's already helping Keable to become a better player.
"Just because they're younger players, it doesn't mean that their voices aren't worthy of being heard," Keable said.
"Some may have been apprehensive in other groups, where they felt their voice wasn't so powerful and I say to them, that's not the case.
"In fact, I'm the odd one out and I'm the one who feels more intimidated having such young people knowing exactly what their role is and what they need to do on court
"It's making me step up, do a lot more and take ownership of my actions too."
The younger players that Keable talks about includes England Futures athletes Halimat Adio and Olivia Tchine.
Defender Zara Everitt and attacker Kira Rothwell are at the heart of England's U21 side, alongside Funmi Fadoju and Emma Thacker who are also juggling being at school with international U21s and Pulse commitments.
"What we are hoping to do is to create the next generation of athletes," defender Everitt shared.
"Although we haven't necessarily known each other for a really long time, we have played together for the last few years.
"Due to our age we all have the same ambitions, it means that we get on really well and that very much reflects on court too."
London Pulse's 2020 Superleague Squad
|Sigi Burger||Chiara Semple|
|Olivia Tchine||Kira Rothwell|
|Adean Thomas||Michelle Drayne|
|Ashleigh Dekker||Kate Lloyd|
|Halimat Adio||Lindsay Keable|
|Funmi Fadoju||Chloe Gregory|
Keable is well aware of the role that she can play to help get the best out of her team-mates and help shape their careers for the better.
It's a role that spans on and off the court, ahead of this training session she'd picked a group up from the train station to make it easier for them. This type of supporting role was something that she'd thought about before moving to Pulse.
"It was a massive opportunity to almost give back to a sport that I've spent so long in," she shared.
"I adore it, I love netball and I love everything that it's done for me and what I've achieved.
"So, for me to be able to give back on any level [is great]. Maybe in 10 years' time I'll get to say that I played with some greats."
Kira Rothwell on the scope for development at Pulse
There’s been a lot on developing the Pulse culture and the training environment. We don’t have to be the finished package. Sam [Bird] wants players who are going to work hard, be nice people too and work together well.
Head coach Bird is vital to Pulse's future. As a former player herself, and one who was selected for England at 15, she knows the importance of supporting the person as well as the netballer.
"I study Law and Spanish Law at the University of Oxford," Everitt said.
"Sam comes from a legal background as well so from the start she offered me advice on that part of my life as well. She understands how demanding the course is and if we need to speak about that area, she knows what she's talking about.
"Sam doesn't want to use that information against you. I know that sounds slightly cynical, but some coaches might. Some coaches might say that they're not going to play you because you couldn't be at a training session.
"Instead she sees how our education adds to us as a player, as opposed to it being detrimental."
Olivia Tchine discussing Samantha Bird
She’s really trusting on court. She trusts us to be able to go on court and deliver. When it comes to game day, she will try combinations because she’s got that trust in us. The fact that we know our coach believes in us, is really reassuring.
Bird's support is not just reserved to the younger members of her squad, as Keable shared.
"I think something that she has brought in from her previous team at Stars in just making sure that we're all still kept as human beings.
"Some days we do need a little bit more TLC, even at the tender age of 31 I still have days when I need a cuddle!
Emma Thacker's discusses her head coach's support
I think that she knows what is right for every individual. She knows what people want and what they want to get out of. She knows who needs a pat on the back and who needs a different approach. She looks at the bigger picture, not just netball.
"She has really solid expectations of us too though. Even on a bad day, you still need to meet the standards," Keable added.
"Sam does a really good job to keep a solid team of girls, who are under many different umbrellas and from lots of different walks of life, together."
Diversity, unity and a youthful energy will be the cornerstones to London Pulse's work this season and with the likes of the experienced Keable there to steady the ship, the signs are pointing towards a productive and positive season for Superleague's newest franchsie.
Sky Sports is your home of netball and is back on your screens this week. The Season Opener from Arena Birmingham will be live on Sky Sports Mix & Arena, plus streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel, from 11am on Saturday.