NSL 2024: Match Preview: London Pulse v Saracens Mavericks

Who – Saracens Mavericks

When – Monday April 15

Where – Copper Box Arena, Queen Elizabeth Park, London

London Pulse host local rivals Saracens Mavericks tonight, taking aim at a fourth successive win.

Victories on the road against Leeds Rhinos and Cardiff Dragons were followed by success against Strathclyde Sirens in Round 8 last time out, and Mavs represent the second of three home games in succession.

A win against Mavs would give Sam Bird and her squad a season’s best winning run of four consecutive victories, but Berri Neil is wary of the threat posed by a Mavericks side that sit 7th are in need of a win to avoid losing touch with the top four.

“There is momentum building [for us] but Mavericks will provide a challenge, and it’s a home rivalry so as always we are taking one game at a time and not looking too far ahead,” Neil told us.

“We want to push on with the things we want to work on, but it’s also remembering our strengths – we’ve been playing some good stuff and we want to implement that against Mavs.”

With Pulse occupying fourth spot, the eight point gap to Mavericks could be extended by the weekend as Bird’s squad aim to put their foot down and cement their place in the NSL table.

On the face of it, it was a good win and a good performance against Sirens, winning all four quarters of a game for the first time this season, but the overwhelming feeling post match from players and head coach was it could have been better.

Captain Zara Everitt summed up the mood in the camp and the feeling of a team with laser focus on making a statement not only to the league but to themselves.

“Great to get the three points but it wasn’t the game we wanted to put out there,” she said.

“We want to put out a performance, to make a statement to the rest of the league that we are the type of team that could put up a lot of goals.

We need to put together four really quarters,that’s what we need to be doing if we want to win a final. Three quarters isn’t going to be good enough, or even 50 minutes – we have to be there for the full 60.”

A tweak to the starting seven brought Brie Grierson in for her first start against Sirens, with Alicia Scholes switching to centre. And Bird admitted that they wanted to have a longer look at that but Grierson’s ankle injury put paid to that.

The Wing Attack will miss Monday’s game with an ankle sprain and she joins Jade Clarke on the sidelines as she continues to manage her return to full fitness from an ankle injury.

Jada Autumn keeps her place in the squad, and will be joined by another Pulse Pathway product as Isla May joins the matchday squad for the first time this season.

The chance to keep the momentum going is helped by a home rivalry match and against a Mavs team beaten by Manchester Thunder at OVO Arena, Wembley on another memorable occasion for the sport.

For Pulse the focus is on winning ahead of Round 10 when Team Bath are the visitors, before a match-up with Severn Stars, one of only two teams to get the better of Pulse so far this season.

And the Copper Box crowd will be crucial to keeping that going, according to the captain.

“Our home games are important for consistency but also for us as a club as we build up the hype and make sure our fans are really engaged for our home games,” Everitt said.

“We want to be able to give them something to be excited about.”

Squad – Halimat Adio, Jada Autumn, Funmi Fadoju, Jeresia McEachrane, Darcie Everitt, Zara Everitt, Isla May, Isabella Phillips, Alicia Scholes, Nichole Taljaard, Berri Neil, Olivia Tchine.


Round 10 – Team Bath Netball, Home

Round 11 – Severn Stars, Away (live on BBC iPlayer)

Round 12 – Leeds Rhinos, Home (Crystal Palace Arena)

Round 13 – Surrey Storm, Home (live on Sky Sports YouTube)

Round 14 – Strathclyde Sirens, Away


Head Coach: Camilla Buchanan

Last Season: 5th (W8 D0 L10 F959 A1057 Pts 24)

Form (last 6 games): L L W W L L


One of eight founder members of the Superleague in 2005-06 when they began life as the Galleria Mavericks, and they linked up with Saracens Rugby Club in 2019, when the franchise purchased a 50% stake in the club

Bags of pedigree with six finals and two titles, however it’s been eight years since they made the top four and a semi-final spot, having remarkably finished fifth in each of the last five seasons.

The last Mavericks final came in 2015 when – under current Pulse head coach Sam Bird – they were beaten by Surrey Storm, while the second of their two titles came in 2011 – they were also champions in 2008.


A strong off season of recruitment brought in England Roses Vicki Oyesola, Ellie Rattu and Emma Thacker but so far a strong squad have yet to find the consistency demanded by Camilla Buchanan.

After starting the season with a draw against Cardiff Dragons, two of the three wins have been on the road – at the league’s bottom two teams Team Bath and Strathclyde Sirens.Their current form reads two defeats, after back-to-back wins, and those victories followed two defeats so consistency will be key to top four hopes.

Razia Quashie leads the defence with 12 interceptions and 27 deflections while at the other end Ine-Mari Venter has started the last three and has made her way into the shooting top 10 this season despite being eased back after early injuries.

Last Time Out – Lost 46-70 v Manchester Thunder (Home – Wembley).

Starting Seven: GK – Quashie; GD – Gibson; WD – Rattu; C – Masser; WA – Lees; GA – Thacker; GS – Venter. Bench – Oyesola, Fairclough, Zaranyika, Rothwell, Clarke

Squad – Razia Quashie, Anna Fairclough, Vicki Oyesola, Jodie Gibson, Aliyah Zaranyika, Ellie Rattu, India Masser, Gerogia Lees, Kira Rothwell, Emma Thacker, Britney Clark, Ine-Mari Venter.


Played – 8; London Pulse – 4; Saracens Mavericks – 4.

It’s as even as it gets gets in match-ups between the two rivals, including the strange fact that no team have won back-to-back matches across the eight meetings.

It was one win each last season, both coming for the away team as Mavericks were winners at the Copper Box in Round 20. That came after Pulse recorded a win at Hertfordshire Sports Village earlier in the season.

Pulse will also take heart from the fact they have won two of the three matches to take place at the Copper Box.

Last 5 meetings

Round 20, 2023 – London Pulse 46-52 Saracens Mavericks

Round 10, 2023 – Saracens Mavericks 43-56 London Pulse

Round 14 2022 London Pulse 53-46 Saracens Mavericks

Round 3, 2022 – Saracens Mavericks 53-51 London Pulse

Round 19, 2021 London Pulse 46-33 Saracens Mavericks

Round 9 Other Results 

Friday – Surrey Storm 62-48 Strathclyde Sirens

Friday – Team Bath 46-52 Cardiff Dragons

Saturday – Manchester Thunder 67-37 Leeds Rhinos

Saturday – Severn Stars 52-68 Loughborough Lightning