In what could only be described as a netballing ‘package deal’, best friends – and housemates who have spent almost two full years together – Tayla Honey and Sacha McDonald will now embark on a new journey together in London.
The duo will join the Vitality Netball Super League Pulse franchise from 2022, straight from the Melbourne Vixens and Victorian Netball pathway.
Honey, who plays wing attack, and McDonald, who plays goals and admits she has been honing her wing attack skills, will join Jasmin Odeogberin (Lightning), Berri Neil and Alicia Scholes (Thunder) as new recruits to the London Pulse.
Speaking to The Netball Post, McDonald said the pair made the decision to move overseas during the COVID-19 pandemic together.
“It really felt like it came about in a matter of days. We have the same manager and he approached us separately but, as Tayla and I like to say, it was a bit of a two-for-one deal,” she said.
“We were working through what we were looking at locally, but once they outlined the package, what it involved and the club – once it had been set out it didn’t take long for us to be convinced.
“There’s been a really good transparency of what the goals are. It is setting a precedent maybe locally for girls in Australia… by us going over we hope it opens up and expand pathways for athletes.
“London will give us experiences like new coaches, new ways of playing, and the life experience as well. We hope we can set it as a pathway and girls have done it before us, but we hope plenty do it after us.”
Honey said moving to London might come as a shock for some, but she is ready to give it her all.
“I think people might think it is a bit left field, a bit random but I think this is something I want to do to better myself as a person and as a netballer,” she said.
“To be able to do it with my best mate Sacha I think it is going to be such a wonderful experience.
“I am excited to see what Sam and Lisa can add to my game. I think having fresh eyes on me who can see little things on my game, and tips and tricks on how to be better as a netballer.
“Mum (Di, former Diamond and Vixens assistant coach) really encouraged me to go… she said it was such an opportunity both as a player and a person – she really pushed me to go and I am glad she did.”
The squad will be coached by head coach Sam Bird alongside former Diamonds coach and Pulse Performance Director Lisa Alexander and Fiona Murtagh.
CEO and head coach Bird said she was excited to continue to deliver a world class programme focused on development.
“We’re looking at really extending the performance environment at London Pulse and continuing to create a world-class performance environment for our athletes,” she said.
“We believe that we have a large number of the most highly talented elite netballers and future elite netballers in the country.
“A lot of them are from London too, and it’s inspirational and a privilege for us as staff to be working with them and giving these players the best environment possible at London Pulse.”
“London has such a rich tapestry of talent; it’s the most diverse city in the UK and we have over 30 languages spoken within our club.”
“We have an amazing group of diverse people and that’s part of our strength. We’re excited to bring all of these athletes, with their different individual strengths and cultural heritage together. It makes London Pulse a really exciting place to be.”