As the long march towards the 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season continues, Celtic Dragons can now reveal its first four squad members for the upcoming season.
This first announcement sees three players return to the franchise after a successful 2019, with another coming back to the team after a year away. Wales shooter Chelsea Lewis will be back in green for 2020 and her national team-mate, defender Leila Thomas comes back to the franchise after spending the 2019 season at Team Bath. Joining Lewis and Thomas will be Fijian defender and British Army soldier, Dee Bolakoro, who spent the summer competing at the Netball World Cup. The Fijian interception queen will be featuring in the defensive end alongside Dragons’ 2019 ‘Most Improved Player,’ England’s Abby Tyrrell.
Head coach, Tania Hoffman shared her delight at securing the services of the four returning players. She said: “I’m hugely excited to have Chelsea, Leila, Dee and Abby back at Celtic Dragons for 2020.
“Chelsea has been talismanic for Dragons and Wales throughout her career and everyone in the league knows how capable she is, not only in terms of shooting, but also her physicality and ability to impose herself on the game.”
“Leila is one of Wales’ most exciting young netballers and she had a good summer series with Wales this year. Getting her back over the bridge for the coming season is fantastic for the franchise.”
“Abby was one of the first players to put pen to paper this season and her enthusiasm and passion for this team is really inspirational to see. She developed massively throughout 2019 and I can’t wait to see what she can do in 2020.”
“Dee’s statistics were very impressive last season and her ability to disrupt the opposition will be important to us in the coming campaign. She has played a lot of netball this year and that will stand her in good stead when we kick off our campaign on 22 February.”
With Dragons set to start their season at the ‘Big Season Opener’ in Birmingham against Surrey Storm, excitement is beginning to build across the nation with news of signings coming thick and fast.
Leila Thomas shared her excitement at her imminent homecoming. She said: ‘I’m extremely happy to be back home in green with Celtic Dragons this season where it all started for me and I can’t wait to be back on court in front of the Green Army.
“It’s a new-look team and I’m looking forward to building strong new connections. The franchise has definitely progressed since my previous seasons so I’m very excited to see what we can achieve.”
Meanwhile, Abby Tyrrell is looking forward to continuing her player journey with the franchise in 2020. She said: “I am extremely happy to have this opportunity to be back with Dragons because over the last year I feel I have developed as a player and I want to be able to keep developing. With support from all the staff at Dragons I know this will be possible.
“Celtic Dragons have really welcomed me to their team and as an outsider I really felt part of the family. I cannot wait for another season with them.”
With summer now over, fans should keep their eyes out for more news from the franchise as the squad for 2020 takes shape!