Watch Manchester Thunder v Wasps live from the Manchester Arena at 2pm on Sky Sports Arena.
Vitality Superleague Netball lands at Manchester Arena this weekend as Thunder host host Wasps in a mouthwatering top of the table encounter.
With the Superleague season heading towards a thrilling conclusion at the top of the table and the race for top four places both teams know a win this weekend could put them on the brink of their return to the semi-finals.
The pair met in the last four last year, where Wasps were victorious on their way the Grand Final triumph in their debut year, and also won the first meeting between the teams earlier this year.
However Tamsin Greenway’s team lost their perfect record with defeat to Loughborough last weekend and a trip to a lively Manchester Arena will provide just as stern a test.
Karen Greig’s side currently sit third in the table and have won four of their last five games since their own defeat to Lightning and are determined to cement their own place in the top four.
2018 Vitality Superleague – Current Standings P Pts 1. Wasps 13 36 2. Loughborough Lightning 14 33 3. Manchester Thunder 13 30 4. benecos Mavericks 13 30 5. Team Bath 13 27
Having won all their games prior to last weekend it is clearly a different mindset for the Wasps team on Saturday, something Greenway is well aware of.
“We will be looking at what went wrong against Lightning and fixing those issues. We have to go to Manchester with more fire in our bellies,” she said.
“The next few weeks are going to be really interesting. There will be some real crunch games with the top four teams playing each other.
“We only need a couple of wins to cement a top four place and I’m confident we can do that.”
For her part Greig doesn’t expect too much to change, citing Wasps status as champions more than one albeit recent defeat.
“They are a solid team from back to front with a strong starting seven and a couple of good changes that they can get onto court if they need to,” she told Sky Sports.
“Last time we played against them we only lost by four – it was such a clinical game from both team but ultimately just a couple of errors on our part cost us as if they had been the other way we could have taken the game.
“We take that positive and if we can put that performance out on our home court, the girls are confident we can go out and take a win on Saturday.”
Greenway expects a battle this weekend and is well aware of threat posed by their hosts: “Thunder will look at what Loughborough did and try to replicate that.
“It was a really close game when we last played them and we know it will be again, especially with their fans behind them.”
A big crowd is expected at the Manchester Arena, just over a year on from the terrorist attack on the venue that saw 32 people lose their lives.
It’s Thunder’s first game back at the Arena and Greig believes the emotion and crowd can help her team as they look for what could be a crucial win and a fitting tribute.
“Last year with the atrocities in the city we were obviously disappointed that we didn’t get the chance to step out on such a great arena but lives were lost and even more were affected.
So it is going to be emotional for everyone involved and all our matchday reference has 32 bees to represent the lives that were lost.
It will be a poignant moment so hopefully we can go out there and get the win as a tribute to those that lost their lives and those still so affected by the tragedy.
Vitality Superleague – Round 15 Fixtures Friday Team Bath v benecos Mavericks Saturday Manchester Thunder v Wasps Team Northumbria v Celtic Dragons Surrey Storm v UWS Sirens Loughborough Lightning v Severn Stars
Our live coverage continues on Saturday when Manchester Thunder host Wasps on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Arena from 2pm.
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