Fresh from Loughborough Lightning’s historic first Vitality Netball Superleague title, talented young defender Annabel Roddy has made the huge decision to move across to the Celtic Dragons for season 2022. The Netball Post caught up with Annabel Roddy to have a chat about her move to the Celtic Dragons.
Lessons learnt from Lightning
Roddy’s career with the Lightning started in 2018, when she joined the team while studying at Loughborough. In her three years with the team, they won two titles – one Fast5 title and in 2021 the VNSL title. Roddy speaks very fondly of her time with the club saying that there was “an inclusive community at Loughborough” and of her teammates “having the experience and leadership with people around you has really helped me thrive on and off the court”.
Annabel says “Being at the Lightning has given me a competitive edge, I want to win everything.” She is hoping to use her experience from the winning ways with Loughborough, saying “I have learnt a lot but I don’t want to leave that at Lightning, I want that to be part of my progression and my journey”.
When speaking about how she would like to contribute to the team on the court, Annabel said “I want to get interceptions and win back ball but I also want to bring some noise and some intensity, I would like to think I work quite hard just like the rest of the team”.
Looking forward to the future at the Celtic Dragons
Having now graduated from Loughborough University, Annabel has signed with the Celtic Dragons for the 2022 season. Training returned for the Dragons two months ago and Annabel has found that “the training environment has just been phenomenal… every session everyone has the same intensity, the same intent and there is such a vision, we know where we want to get to and we want to put in the work to get there.”
When asked what we can expect to see from the Dragons, Roddy said, “we are going to be fearless, we are going to bring a bit of fire” she continued to say that the team has been saying:
“Fire in the belly, ice in the mind”.
When the prospect of moving to the Dragons was first raised, Annabel said it was too good of an opportunity to turn down. Reflecting on the call from the coaching staff she said: “I spoke to Dannii and after my chat with her, I thought I just can’t say no. She has so much passion and such a brilliant vision, I bought into it the moment she spoke to me and I wanted to be a part of the rebrand of the Dragons. Dannii has such a brilliant winning mentality and she has selected athletes that share that. She has a brilliant mentality that really compliments everything that she does as a coach. Later in the interview, she said that she “feels in safe hands now that I am back playing under Dannii”.
She is looking forward to taking the court with her new team and said “as a team, we have a collective goal to work our way up the leaderboard. We want to move away from the one win that the Dragons got last year, to push and challenge as many teams as we can… I can’t wait to get out in the defensive end, with Shaquanda Greene-Noel, Nia Jones, Leila Thomas and everyone we have at Dragons and see what we can do.”
Seeing all the announcements and initiatives that the Dragons have launched recently excites her for the season ahead- with the rebrand feeling like the start of a whole new era. Commenting on the rebranding of the Dragons, Annabel said “I am really excited about the new kit that is being launched in partnership with O’Neils. I am also excited to interact with fans through the new membership called the Dragon’s Lair.”
Experiences with England
Roddy was a member of the England Under 21’s team and that experience has given her the opportunity to step up as a leader. When speaking about being a leader she said “sometimes your actions can speak as much as your voice can. I see myself as a leader by stepping onto the court and leading by example. Having tenacity on the court is a great trait in a leader.”
She wishes to leave a legacy as a player who is “known both on and off the court. I don’t want to just be someone who steps on the court and does their thing, I want to be a player that everyone wants to play alongside, a teammate that everyone wants to have on their team and someone that the coach can rely on to get a match-winning interception.
As a young player she looked up to Geva Mentor and when playing in the Netball Performance League (NPL) she played alongside Fran Williams whom she looks up to now. When speaking about Fran she said “I have always thought of her and took note of her journey. She is such a hard worker and seeing her breaking into the England senior team, instils me with a bit of inspiration and belief that I can follow in a similar way”.
Her personal goal for the season is to progress through the England Netball pathway, “I have worked my way up to under 21’s now and although it does feel like a big leap into the Roses Futures programme I think a bit of court time and SuperLeague exposure would hopefully be that bridge to get me into that environment.”
Thanks to Annabel for taking the time to chat with The Netball Post. Netball fans will be looking forward to seeing her and the new-look Dragons in the upcoming season.