Clare Jones wearing her green celtic dragon uniform while running

Celtic Dragons' Clare Jones. Pic: Getty Images.

This Year The Corner Must Be Turned, Says Celtic Dragons Skipper Clare Jones

sportswales

By Hannah Blackwell

Celtic Dragons captain Clare Jones wants the Welsh side to make massive strides as the 2023 Netball Super League season gets underway.

Last year the Dragons finished 10th with just three wins from their 20 matches.

But they had a better defensive record than five teams in the division, with their skipper confident the foundations are in place for success.

“The narrative that we created for ourselves last year was really positive,” Jones said.
“We were super happy with our results in terms of how competitive we were but this year it has to be about turning those results in our favour.”

The Season Opener, where all ten teams are in action, is taking place at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena this weekend.

Dragons have the toughest of the starts against last season’s unbeaten league champions, Manchester Thunder.

Jones said: “Pre-season always feels very long and we’re at the stage now where we are just ready to put everything that we have been solidifying out on court.

“It will be great to see the fans and the season opener weekend is always exciting to have all the fans in one place.”

Consistency could be key to Dragons’ pulling off an upset and, indeed, their chances of success this season.

The Cardiff-based side only have three additions to their squad this year and have only lost Nia Jones from last year’s roster.

“In terms of consistency, it is advantageous for us,” Jones said. “We are comfortable with each other and that’s going to hopefully translate onto court.

“We are happy with everyone that has been retained and then we have some new faces who have slotted right in. “We are pretty happy as a squad.”

One big change from last year is that the Celtic Dragons will now play their home fixtures in Cardiff’s House of Sport facility after 15 years playing at Sport Wales National Center. “I am excited about our new home venue,” said Jones.

“We have got a responsibility to make it our home, make it a fortress and I think we have the right squad to do that.”

Many of that squad featured in the Welsh national team’s flawless run of World Cup qualifiers last October after Wales failed to qualify for the 2019 tournament.

“That World Cup qualifier meant so much to us as a squad but obviously a lot of us were part of the squad that didn’t qualify.

“Now we have done that, the motivation is higher than ever that we are going to the World Cup to compete.

“We love the sport. Playing for Wales is the absolute pinnacle for us all.

“Regardless of where we are, what franchise we are playing for, we know as individuals we are doing the absolute best we can be to take the strongest 12 we can to the World Cup.”

The 2023 Netball Super League season gets underway on Saturday 11 February, live on Sky Sports. Tickets to games across the season can be found at: //netballsl.com/tickets

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