Celtic Dragons have announced their 2017 Vitality Superleague line-up with New Zealand’s Stacey Peeters and Trinidad & Tobago’s Kalifa McCollin joining.
The international duo headline the Dragons’ 12-player roster for the upcoming Superleague season which gets underway in February, while six familiar faces return including former skipper Suzy Drane who will feature for a 12th season with the Cardiff outfit.
Also on board as the Dragons look to build on last year’s seventh-placed finish are Drane’s Welsh international teammates Kelly Morgan, Kyra Jones, Sara Bell, Bethan Dyke and Eleanor Roberts who is back after a season with the franchise in 2014-15.
I’m looking forward to working with Head Coach Trish Wilcox, the management team and my team-mates to build on our performances last season and gain even more success this coming season.
With a fresh faced team and new look Superleague the season ahead is set to be extremely exciting.
Mid-courter Peeters was a regular for Southern Steel in last season’s ANZ Championship and confirmed that she would be heading overseas and the Dragons have won the race for the 24-year-old
“I am delighted to be part of the Celtic Dragons playing roster for 2017,” says Peeters.
“I have been really impressed with the set up at Dragons and in what they want to achieve on and off the court. Their professional approach is sure to benefit netball in Wales across the board.
“I am also really looking forward to mixing with the best players in the UK and helping the Dragons be a competitive force in the competition.”
I am delighted to be able to name so many home grown Welsh players in the squad for this upcoming season, and the addition of two world class players Stacey and Kalifa completes our squad.
Being able to give several of our young Wales U21 players exposure at this level of competition will not only benefit the franchise in the long term, but Wales in the future.
Trish Wilcox, head coach
Dragons’ second overseas star will be 21-year-old shooter McCollin who represented Trinidad & Tobago at the 2015 World Cup and made her international debut aged just 17.
“This opportunity is what I’ve always dreamed about,” she said.
“Netball is my passion, and getting the chance to show my skill at this level of competition is all I could ever ask for.
“Celtic Dragons colours also remind me of my home team, as well, so I’m most looking forward to wearing their colour.”
Also signing up for the Dragons as they prepare for the new 10-team Superleague season are three Welsh U21 international players as the franchise continue to develop the country’s best young talent.
Wales U21 captain Fern Davies, shooter Lydia Hitchings and goalkeeper Leila Thomas have all progressed to be part of the squad for 2017 and former England U17 international Lois Rideout completes the line-up.
Welsh netball CEO Sarah Evans said: “We are delighted to announce the Celtic Dragons squad, and it’s great to welcome returning strong Welsh players combined with new fresh faces from Trinidad and Tobago and of course New Zealand.
“This is also a fantastic opportunity to nurture the young Wales U21 players who have joined the Celtic Dragons. This is an incredible platform to develop young Welsh talent who are part of the Welsh Netball Performance Pathway.
“This will bring them valuable experience as they prepare for the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana, under the strong guidance of Head Coach Trish Wilcox.”
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