Leeds Rhinos Netball expanding footprint with sellout crowd in Hull for Superleague game with Severn Stars
For Rhinos Netball, the leading team in Yorkshire, make their return to the East Riding for their latest home game, a third season at the sport’s top level that is taking them to five different points across the county.
"I’ve never known it before where the Leeds Rhinos brand can go into Hull and be accepted,” says Dan Busfield, Rhinos Netball’s franchise director.
"It’s quite an interesting concept that is also very refreshing. Because we’re the Yorkshire franchise, they’ve accepted us.”
A capacity crowd of upwards of 800 people is expected for Rhinos’ game with Severn Stars, a fixture broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Among them will be young players from community clubs throughout the East Riding.
"Community clubs is an aspect that’s something we’re looking to grow in terms of the development of netball," says Busfield, whose team will also play in Sheffield and Huddersfield this season as well as two venues in Leeds.
"We’re currently writing a development plan for Leeds but we want to extend that throughout Yorkshire.
"The support we’ve seen from community clubs coming to the games - there are a lot of clubs out in Hull - shows there’s a real appetite for the game.
"We’ve got some big groups coming from those clubs on Friday night and in terms of our footprint, clearly we’re trying to generate a fanbase right across Yorkshire."
And Rhinos want to be a beacon for players. Yorkshire Netball control the junior game up to the age of 15, at which point the elite pathway opens up at Under-17s, 19s and 21s level under the Rhinos umbrella.
So anyone who watches Leeds try and get their first Vitality Superleague win of the season on Friday who wants to start their own journey, a framework is now in place to facilitate a journey to the very top level.