Manchester Thunder and Leeds Rhinos players look ahead to strong Netball Manchester Live 2022

Netball is set for one of its biggest nights of the year this Saturday when Manchester Thunder host roses rivals Leeds Rhinos at the prestigious AO Arena in an eagerly anticipated Vitality Netball Superleague clash.
 
Top-of-the-table Manchester Thunder are unbeaten this season and are eyeing a fourth Vitality Netball Superleague title after triumphing in 2012, 2014 and 2019. Relative newcomers Leeds Rhinos, playing only their second season in the Superleague, are eyeing a huge upset. 
 
Thousands of fans from both teams are expected to create a noisy but family-friendly atmosphere inside Manchester’s iconic AO Arena.
 
Manchester Thunder take on Leeds Rhinos at the AO Arena at 17.30 on Saturday 12th March.  Tickets from as little at £12 (under 16s) and £15 (adults) are available at www.manchesterthunder.co.uk
 
Manchester Thunder’s Laura Malcolm and Leeds Rhinos captain Jade Clarke (who is from Partington, South Manchester) having been looking ahead to the match.
 
Manchester Thunder’s Laura Malcolm said: “We definitely won’t be taking Leeds Rhinos lightly. Derby day is big; nobody takes those matches lightly. We had a pre-season friendly against them and that was already a great atmosphere and it was a well contested game. We’re expecting nothing less from this game coming up. Everybody loves a derby; everybody wants to win a derby so we know it’ll be a tough game but a good one. Playing in a big arena in front of Thunder fans is an experience unlike any other. The last time I played at the AO Arena I absolutely loved it. The Thunder fans don’t stop chanting, the drums don’t stop playing; the other team hates it and we love it!
 
“Our derby with Leeds Rhinos is probably one of the closest ones in the leagues and I think that will just make it extra special. I don’t think any other teams have quite that closeness to each other. The last time we played a Leeds team in a competitive match it was one of the best atmospheres I’ve ever experienced.” 
 
Leeds Rhinos’ Jade Clarke said: “I think it’s the classic derby game. That rivalry has always been there between the two biggest teams in the North, going back to before Leeds Rhinos, when it was Yorkshire Jets. It’s because we’re so close in area and both being up North. Both teams up North pride ourselves on playing tough, fast netball and really taking it to the other team, so you’ve got two teams that are really fiery and love a close game and just really want to beat each other even though they have a lot of respect for each other.”
 
On playing at the AO Arena: “I know people say that a netball court is a netball court wherever it is but really you want to play in the big arenas. The AO Arena is really special to me. It’s where I got my first cap for England in 2003 and I absolutely love it. I just remember it so vividly running on to that court and how amazing that crowd was so to be back there nearly 20 years later and playing in this game is pretty awesome. That’s kind of why you play. You want everyone watching and you want to play in those special matches in special venues with everyone watching.”

Sky Sports Netball will also be showing the Round Seven match on its You Tube channel, with coverage starting at 5.30pm on Saturday.