By Paul Prenderville
A new Netball Superleague season gets underway on Saturday and to begin our week of build-up we are getting to know some of the newest faces that will be wearing the London Pulse dress this season.
A busy summer of recruitment resulted in head coach and CEO Sam Bird making just a few changes to the squad that finished top of the Superleague table, before falling agonisingly short of a first title in franchise history.
Pulse were beaten 58-47 by Loughborough Lighting at the Copper Box in the 2023 season finale, but the squad are ready to go again with some new faces determined to help the club go one better than last season.
Isabella Phillips and Darcie Everitt step up from the Pulse Pathway, underlining the commitment to giving young players their chance, and the pair have already featured in pre-season action.
New for 2024 are South Africa’s attacking star Nicholé Taljaard and Trinidad & Tobago’s eye-catching World Cup defender Jeresia McEachrane. Completing the new arrivals is a familiar face as England’s Brie Gierson is back for another season in pink and black after three seasons with Leeds Rhinos.
With the whole squad together for the first time, we headed along to training to get the lowdown from the rest of the squad on the new faces – on the day that Nicholé Taljaard touched down in London
I remember Brie last year playing for Leeds, she was such a stand out player. So much flair, but so much control as well and I think she will be a real asset to our team Her and Liss [Alicia Scholes] offer something completely different while still playing the same position and that can be a strength for us.Berri Neil
I played with Brie at Leeds, she’s a great teammate, a great person and great at driving a culture. As a player she’s got silky skills, she can do things that other players cant. If you are going to win the league you need to have options, people that are really different to what you already have, Brie gives us that edge.Jade Clarke
She’s such a warm personality, she’s so kind and she cares about every single player. When she first joined she was texting all the players, she’s not scared and she’s a natural leader in the group. I’ve known her for a long time and shes such an amazing person.Funmi Fadoju
Jeresia has been with us for a few weeks, and is a dogged defender who is really keen to learn. She is also not shy in putting her mark on the game and that is really good as it can be hard to come into a new team and feel like you can put your stamp on things. She is super aerial which complements the rest of the defence.Brie Grierson
she has brought a whole other physical aspect to the game. I feel like thats what bringing other country’s styles does for the league. I’m not physical player, but playing alongside her I can see what it brings and I feel like we needed that. She is loud, she is direct and says what she thinks which you need on court. She is so passionate.Funmi Fadoju
She is so good at defence. She really hustles, and gets on the ball, creates so many turnovers. Her first session with us, we did a bit of match play and she got the first three turnovers and we were ‘wow, stand out player already’.She will be such an asset to our defence.Berri Neil
I met her for the first time today and I have enjoyed watching her and playing against her when we toured in the summer with England. She’s fast, she’s skillful, she has an exciting future and we can’t wait to see what she can contribute to our attacking end.Zara Everitt
she’s an ultimate professional, fast through the court, a playmaker too and I think we had already signed her by the time the World Cup was on, and everyone could see what she could do. She scored the goal to draw with New Zealand, a real pressure shot and everyone was talking about her.Jade Clarke
I literally just met her today! I’ve seen her playing for SA and she is amazing. So quick on the ball, creative with her movement and passing. She will slot right in to the group and we are excited to have her here.Berri Neil
London Pulse 2024 NSL squad: Halimat Adio, Funmi Fadoju, Jeresia McEachrane, Darcie Everitt, Zara Everitt, Isabella Phillips, Jade Clarke, Alicia Scholes, Brie Grierson, Nichole, Taljaard, Berri Neal, Olivia Tchine
Training Partners: Chloe Essam, Isla May, Jada Autumn