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Sunshine Girl Latanya Wilson settling in with Adelaide Thunderbirds

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Given her settled and highly-motivated mindset, it comes as no surprise that Sunshine Girl Latanya Wilson has quickly found her footing Down Under, as she is keen on having an impressive first season at her new club, Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Wilson, who was drafted by the Thunderbirds following a short but impactful season with Celtic Dragons in the Vitality Netball League in England, is energised ahead of the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball league, scheduled to begin on May 1.

To say that Wilson is excited about rubbing shoulders with the proverbial big girls would be an understatement as it was evident during her first training session that she was ready and raring to strut her stuff.

“It was good training with the team for the first time, getting a feel of playing in this competition is something to look forward to and I am very excited to see what will happen when the season gets started,” the Jamaican young gun shared in a recent interview on the club's Facebook page.

“It has always been my dream to play in Australia, so this is a great opportunity for me to show what I can do, and I can't wait to get on court with the girls,” Wilson, who first represented Jamaica at the Netball World Youth Cup in 2017, added.

The 6'2” Wilson was signed by the Adelaide Thunderbirds to bolster the defensive line, which includes Sunshine Girl teammate Shamera Sterling and emerging Australian talent Matilda Garrett.

She made her senior Sunshine Girl debut at the start of 2020, during the Netball Nations Cup, lining up in the defensive circle alongside Sterling.

Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Jodi-Ann Ward, Jhaniele Fowler, Romelda Aiken and Shimona Nelson are the other Sunshine Girls plying their trade in Australia.

“I am so happy and I am excited to be playing alongside my idol, Shamera Sterling, I can't wait for her to get here. Having another Jamaican teammate on the court is good, she understands me and vice versa, so I am looking forward to that,” Wilson, a Mico University College student, noted.

Thunderbirds Head Coach Tania Orst welcomed the arrival of exciting and talented 20-year-old to their family.

“It is great to finally meet her in person, obviously we have had a lot of conversations via Zoom and telephone and all that, she seems very disciplined in her approach about what she wants to do out here in Australia but she is also quite chatty,” Orst said with a laugh.

She added: “But we are really looking forward to getting her immersed more into our programme. She has a real X-factor thing about her, like most Jamaicans do, and she brings a real desire to be the best that she can be.

“What she has shown on the international stage has been really exciting and I think when you look at our defence line for 2021, we are going to have a very disciplined and exciting defence line, so I am really looking forward to that.”

Meanwhile, Thunderbirds' High Performance Manager Pitre Bourdon echoed similar sentiments that Wilson would bring great athleticism and energy to the side, following her demonstration of tenacity and ability to influence a game during her outing in England.

“She's definitely a hunter out on court and we love that she has the versatility to perform in all defensive positions. Latanya has great potential to have a real impact at SSN level and we can't wait to start working with her,” Pitre said in an interview shortly after Wilson's signing.