Head coach Dan Ryan hopes to commit his future to Manchester Thunder for ‘years to come’ after guiding his team to a Grand Final in his first season in charge.
The Australian left his role as assistant coach with Adelaide Thunderbirds to take charge of Thunder and has steered his side to Saturday’s title decider against reigning champions Surrey Storm at the Copper Box Arena, live on Sportsclubsociety.
Ryan paid tribute to his players and coaching staff for their role in a successful season, which saw them finish top of the Vitality Netball Superleague with just one defeat, and wants to complete a ‘dream’ ending.
“It will be a dream come true to be honest,” Ryan told Sportsclubsociety.
“It’s been an unbelievable life experience, coming here to England, and head coaching Manchester Thunder. I’ve been embraced by the players, the franchise, the fans from the very start.
I think I’ve got unfinished business here at Thunder and would like to really be a part of this culture for the years to come.
“On a personal level, I’ve sacrificed a lot to come here, moving over the other side of the world. I wouldn’t change it for anything. To wrap up my season with this great group of players and these wonderful people would be just the ultimate, and hopefully we can finish off what we started at the weekend.
“I think I’ve got unfinished business here at Thunder and would like to really be a part of this culture for years to come. I just think we are starting to scratch the surface of what we can do as a franchise and hopefully we can start off our relationship together with the Premiership and see where we go from there.”
Second-placed Storm are returning to the same sold-out venue where they took the trophy just over 12 months ago, but Ryan does not believe Surrey will have a psychological edge.
“I think it perhaps puts a little bit more pressure on them to retain their title to be honest,” he said. “It’s always hard when you’re defending stuff and we’re super keen to go there and steal the title off them, so I think in that regard it’s going to be a great contest.
“They had a really tough semi-final and really proved their worth to jump into the final, when they themselves I don’t think thought they would make it this far. But they’ve done fantastic job to get to this point of the competition.
“I just think it’s going to be a great showdown of two classy teams. Whoever wants it more will come out on top.”
Watch Saturday’s Grand Final between Manchester Thunder and Surrey Storm from 4.30pm on Sportsclubsociety 5. Or watch for £6.99 without a contract, on NOW TV.