Sport

Serena Guthrie: Netball star announces England return

England centre Serena Guthrie has announced she will return to the United Kingdom for the 2019 netball season.

The 28-year-old, a former Team Bath player, joined newly formed Australian club Giants in 2017 and spent two seasons in Super Netball.

Guthrie, who won Commonwealth Gold in April, will be returning to England in time for the build-up to the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.

It has not yet been announced which English club she will be signing for.

“It’s been an extremely difficult decision to make. Sometimes you know there’s never any easy option, but it’s the right one,” Guthrie said.

“I think for me, going home in 2019 is something that’s always kind of been in my head a little bit, even as a younger player. It’s part of my life plan and achieving the things I want to try and do in life and the other boxes I want to tick as a person.

“It’s just something that kind of feels right for me as a person, as a whole.

“It’s a big decision to make and a very tough one and one that I’ve gone back and forth on over the last couple of months, but all in all it feels right.”

Her Giants side, which includes England team-mate Jo Harten, were beaten by West Coast Fever in Super Netball’s major semi-final on Saturday. They have another chance to make the Grand Final when they face Sunshine Coast Lightning this weekend.

Analysis

Louise Gwilliam, BBC Sport

Guthrie joined Team Bath aged just 16 and spent eight years with the club, winning four titles in the process.

Having made the move to Australia for the 2017 season, via a stint in New Zealand’s ANZ Championship, she was an immediate hit.

Guthrie featured in every Giants game in her inaugural season and was named their MVP as her side fell short in the Grand Final.

She has had another stellar season down under in 2018, enhancing her reputation as a dynamic, and at times unplayable, centre with her club still in the fight for the Super Netball title.

So this is a huge coup, if not a slight surprise, for English netball to have one of the best players in the world back on home soil and once again plying her trade in the UK Superleague.

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