Natalie Haythornthwaite will join the NSW Swifts as a permanent replacement player for the remainder of the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball season.
The Commonwealth Gold Medal winner, who has just won the Vitality Netball Superleague title for the second year in a row with Wasps Netball, joins after NSW star Claire O’Brien was ruled out of the Swifts’ campaign with a season-ending Achilles injury.
Haythornthwaite, who has 28 England caps after making her international debut against Trinidad and Tobago in 2015, is a specialist Wing Attack and was voted the Vitality Netball Superleague’s Player of the Season in the same year.
Swifts Head Coach Briony Akle said she was delighted to welcome a player of Haythornthwaite’s calibre to the squad, especially ahead of a must-win game against the table-topping West Coast Fever this weekend.
“When Claire went down with her injury we knew that we had to bring in a specialist wing attack with a proven ability at this level and in Natalie we have that,” Akle said.
“Suncorp Super Netball is where the best of the best from around the world play their Club netball and we made sure our search for a replacement would leave no stone unturned.
“Natalie has been a standout player on the English Club scene for a long time and that has translated to the international setup with the Roses.
“She was part of the England team that won the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and we think she will fit seamlessly into our attack.
“Every game is a must-win for us from here if we are to make the 2018 Finals Series and with Natalie playing so well with Wasps in the Vitality Netball Superleague she will arrive battle-hardened and ready to hit the ground running.”
Haythornthwaite said she was honoured to be called into the NSW Swifts and looking forward to wearing the Red Dress.
“It is very exciting for me to get this opportunity at such a famous Club,” she said.
“I have had some conversations with Helen Housby, who told me how much she was enjoying the environment, and I can’t wait to starting training with the team and get out on court.
“As a professional athlete I am always looking to test myself in the most challenging of environments and Suncorp Super Netball is one of those. I can’t wait to play alongside, and go up against, some of the best netballers in the world.
“I have had the privilege of playing for England in Australia on a number of occasions and I can’t wait to get a taste of the Club scene there.”
The NSW Swifts play their final home game of the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball regular season this Saturday night at Sydney Olympic Park’s Quaycentre at 7:00pm.
Follow Natalie’s time at NSW Swifts on the club’s official Twitter account.