Mon 04 Oct 2021 20:49

Tuaine Keenan has been confirmed as the fourth signing for Rhinos Netball for the new Vitality Netball Superleague season.

The New Zealander was the last player to complete the Rhinos squad last season and made her debut just weeks after joining the club. She earned a regular starting spot at goal keeper in Dan Ryan’s side, missing just four games after picking up an injury in round two, but returned to be at the heart of the defence, making the most intercepts for the team and fifth most in Superleague.

Commenting on her decision to stay with Rhinos Netball, Keenan said: “It’s great to have signed a new deal with the Rhinos. For me it’s really good to know that I am playing at this point of the season as last year I came in so late, so I am really excited to get a full pre season under my belt and then see what we can do during the season. I am really missing the girls so can’t wait to meet up with them all again.

“The groundwork was really put in early on to build that team culture and I think that when we did come up against any challenges, like the injuries we had, that work really held us in good stead. So I think hopefully with the group that we have that we can carry on that same culture and that same support, so that no matter what happens we can confront it together and perform just as well and if not better than last season.”

Keenan started out her netball career in the UK with Yorkshire Jets, before moving onto Team Northumbria and Loughborough Lightning and says she is looking forward to getting the chance to play in front of a Yorkshire crowd again next season.

“I think it’s really positive that we will have our home venue and get the chance to play in front of fans. Going back to the home and away format so the dedicated fans can access the games will be really fun and good to help the sport grow locally.”

Dan Busfield, Leeds Rhinos Netball’s Franchise Director, said: “Tuaine was a late addition to our squad last season, but took no time to settle in and made a big impact on and off the court. She is a great character to have at the club and we are pleased that she has committed to the Rhinos for another season.

“She began her career here with Yorkshire Jets so it’s great that she is part of our new franchise which is bringing netball back to the county and I am sure the Yorkshire netball fans will be excited to see her back in action.”

Maggie Birkinshaw, assistant coach for Rhinos Netball added: “Tuaine is a strong intelligent circle defender who brings a wealth of experience to the Rhinos from her playing career on both sides of the hemisphere. She is a highly respected member of our squad who plays with stealth, excellent smarts and great tenacity.

“She is one of the best at reading the play and comes from nowhere to steal the ball. She’s done battle with the best shooters in the league, is steely in her application to positional role and totally unrelenting as the last line of defence.”

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