Jenny van Dyk: It will be difficult for Jaguars to defend TNL title

Jenny van Dyk: It will be difficult for Jaguars to defend TNL title

Proteas coach Jenny van Dyk reckons it won’t be easy for the Jaguars to defend their Telkom Netball League title, considering the competitiveness in the first half of the 2024 season.

Jaguars have been surpassed by the Free State Crinums for the number one spot in the Division A log standings, with the Free State side having collected 11 points, with five wins from six matches, while the Gauteng outfit are in third place with nine points.

Van Dyk says it is good to see other teams, such as the Crinums and the Fireballs raising their hands as title contenders, which speaks to the growth of the domestic league.

"I don't think this year is going to be easy for them to defend their title, but over the years there was one or two occasions where they went through the tournament undefeated," said van Dyk.

"What is good for netball, and for them and their development, is if it's not easy for them to get all the way to the top. I think there are two teams that, at the moment, I feel are also well organised and running their systems, and just performing well – the Fireballs and the Crinums.

"So I think the Jaguars can definitely play in the finals again, and win, but it's definitely never a certainty that they will – there are other teams definitely knocking on the door as well."

The 41-year-old also praised the return of veteran Wing Defence Karla Pretorius, who made a return home and signed with TNL front-runners the Crinums after spending seven years in the Suncorp Super League in Australia.

"I must say that Karla Pretorius came back, and I know she didn't play the last two matches [because] she had to go back to work, but in the matches she did play in the opening rounds, she intercepted and had, I think, about 19 turnovers and only 27 contacts," she noted.

"That is a fantastic stat and it just shows us that's the right direction, and she's leading by example, so that's the one player I really felt made a substantial contribution in the first round."

READ: How the TNL shaped Proteas coach Jenny Van Dyk’s coaching career