Barrowford’s Natalie Haythornthwaite is excited by the challenge, after committing to NSW Swifts for the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season.
After helping Wasps to back-to-back Vitality Netball Superleague victories, the Commonwealth Games gold medalist will spend next season in Australia.
The 25-year-old joined Swifts late in the season just gone, as a replacement for the injured Claire O’Brien, just days after winning Superleague with Wasps.
And, it adds to a huge year, with England hosting the Netball World Cup next year, while Haythornthwaite us currently with the Roses ahead of the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand, held between September 15th and 23rd.
She said: “Wasps have been incredible to be part of for the past two years.
“I feel extremely lucky to have played for such an amazing club and made so many great friendships during my time at Wasps.
“Wasps have been a huge part of my life over the last two years and I’ve really enjoyed my netball whilst being there.
“I’m really excited for my next chapter of netball overseas with the New South Wales Swifts.
“It’s an exciting challenge, which I know everyone at Wasps will be supporting me with.”
She will join England teammate Helen Housby in New South Wales, whose head coach Briony Akle said: “We were obviously really sad to see Claire injured, but in the final rounds we were able to look to Nat.
“She jumped on a plane from England and was thrown into the Swifts environment only a few days after winning the Vitality Netball Superleague with Wasps, and she did it so effortlessly.
“Her attack shows real precision and experience so it’s great to have that in the mix with the rest of the team.
“They can learn a lot from her and vice versa.
“The team have taken their skill-level to the next level this season and I can’t wait to see what they can do together next year.”
Wasps head coach Mel Mansfield is disappointed to lose a quality player, but understands it is an incredible opportunity that she couldn’t turn down: “Of course we are disappointed that Natalie won’t be in black-and-gold again this season, but it’s a choice we fully support her in.
“We have been in constant dialogue with Natalie since we won the Superleague Grand Final in July.
“Everyone knew she would go out to Australia and impress, but we still held an offer open for her until we knew for certain that NSW Swifts would look to sign her.
“It is a fantastic opportunity in the next steps of Natalie’s development as a player.
“It is just rewards for the game winning performances she regularly displayed for us and the England Roses, and we wish her every success.”