It’s the start of a new era at the Adelaide Thunderbirds with the 2018 team featuring established home-grown talent, emerging next generation athletes and international stars handpicked by coach Dan Ryan.
“2018 is a fresh start for us – we have a new and very eclectic group of individuals,” Dan said.
“Following the results of 2017, it was the opportune time to refresh. To do that we needed to inject new faces into the team.
“I think all of the bold moves in the off-season and the decisions we made on who were going to be Adelaide Thunderbirds players in 2018 were validated during pre-season camp.
“During the three days the athletes showed that they feel so privileged to be an Adelaide Thunderbird. I was so inspired by their level of humility and gratitude for what this means to them.
“We have a group of athletes who are going to play with their heart for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.”
Here’s your 2018 team.
Leana De Bruin – GD, GK
Former New Zealand and South African international player, Leana – a dynamic defender – is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist. In 2017, she captained the Northern Stars, a Manukau-based team in New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership competition.
What Dan says: Leana is one of the best defenders in the world. Her experience and smarts, plus the ability to stand up and be a match winner, are attributes that are going to be so valuable for our team.
Kate Shimmin – GD, GK
Kate, a proud product of the South Australian development pathways, began her career at the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2011, before moving to the Queensland Firebirds for the 2017 SSN season. She has represented Australia on four occasions in the Fast5 Netball World Series.
What Dan says: Kate is a real ball winner and an absolute menace, so I’m looking forward to seeing what she can bring to our new-look defence line.
Fiona Themann – GK, GD
2017 marked Fiona’s break-out season with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. She has represented Scotland on more than 20 occasions, including in the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup.
What Dan says: Not only did Fiona have a brilliant debut season, it was also her first season consistently playing goal defence. I was so impressed with her work ethic and tenacity. The growth within her is exciting and I’d expect her to go to a whole new level next year.
Bongiwe Msomi – C, WA
Bongiwe arrives in Adelaide following a successful season in the UK Vitality Netball Superleague, where her team, Wasps Netball, took out the title and she was named MVP in the 2017 final. The captain of South Africa’s national netball team, Bongiwe has 76 international test caps.
What Dan says: She has the x-factor and the ability to really rip open a game. I think she’s going to absolutely thrive in the environment and cause quite a few headaches for the opposition.
Chelsea Pitman – WA
Chelsea returns to the Adelaide Thunderbirds for a second season, after being named the 2017 Club Champion. Chelsea, who plays on the international stage for England Roses, ranked third in 2017 SSN season for goal assists, with 182 to her name.
What Dan says: Attacking general with the ability to run the show and deliver the ball on a string.
Kaitlyn Bryce – WA, GA, C
Kaitlyn has long been marked as a player on the rise as she moved through underage NSW state and national sides. She made her ANZ Championship debut with the NSW Swifts in 2016 and arrives at the Adelaide Thunderbirds after taking a break in 2017 to fully recover from a back injury.
What Dan says: I’ve kept an eye on Kaitlyn for many years now and think she has so much talent and potential that I believe she could be anything. She’s a natural playmaker with a brilliant skill set and is very much a student of the game.
Hannah Petty – C, WD, WA
One of the most promising mid-court players in Australia, Hannah returns to the team after two injury-interrupted seasons with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. Originally from Wudinna on the Eyre Peninsula, Hannah captained the 2017 Australian U21 team in the Netball World Youth Cup.
What Dan says: One of the next big stars of Australian netball, a sponge and represent the toughness and aggression we pride ourselves on.
Sasha Glasgow – GS, GA
From Moonta Bay on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula, Sasha had a break-out year in 2017 progressing from Adelaide Thunderbirds training partner to a spot in the starting seven.
What Dan says: Great young person with the world at her feet, ultimate high-performance approach to being an elite athlete.
Abigail Latu-Meafou – GS, GA
Abigail was a member of the 2017 Queensland Firebirds side and made a stunning debut against the Adelaide Thunderbirds where she scored 28 goals.
What Dan says: She’s left-handed, silky-skilled and very strong and robust, so I’m looking forward to seeing how she slots into our new-look attack line. She has a lot of untapped potential and I’m looking forward to working with her.
Cat Tuivaiti – GS
Dynamic former Samoan and New Zealand international, Cat Tuivaiti played for Central Pulse in the 2017 ANZ Premiership season, finishing the season with the highest shooting percentage in the league at 95%.
What Dan says: “Strong, aggressive, accurate, and great character for the environment.”
Shimona Nelson – GS
Shimona is the replacement player for Cat Tuivaiti, while she continues her recovery from a knee reconstruction. Shimona turned down an offer to play college basketball in Chicago to sign on with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. The exciting shooter was a member of Jamaica’s Fast5 Netball World Series team.
What Dan says: “Shimona has so much raw talent and incredible athleticism, it really is a gift. She’s an exciting prospect and her desire to grow and improve is so impressive for an 18-year-old. Her potential is limitless, she is like a sponge soaking up as much information and advice every time we are together.”