Stacey Francis-Bayman will hang up her netball dress after the conclusion of this summer’s Commonwealth Games; Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm have announced their moves to the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia and Trident Homes Tactix in New Zealand for the 2023 season

Last Updated: 08/07/22 2:38pm

The trio of internationals have made announcements about their futures in the game

The trio of internationals have made announcements about their futures in the game

Stacey Francis-Bayman has announced she will retire from playing after representing England at this summer’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, while Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm are moving abroad.

Francis-Bayman shared the news about her retirement at an awards dinner for West Coast Fever, just hours after she had helped the Perth-based club win their first-ever Australian domestic title.

Both Cardwell and Malcolm played pivotal roles in Manchester Thunder’s unbeaten Vitality Netball Superleague season and title-winning campaign.

Cardwell has now revealed that her next destination will be Australia, while Malcolm has decided to continue her domestic netball career in New Zealand.

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Francis-Bayman to call time on career

At a domestic level in England, Francis-Bayman is Team Bath Netball’s most decorated Superleague player having won five Superleague titles during her decade with Team Bath.

She was twice named as Superleague Player of the Year during her nine years with the Blue & Gold before heading to Australia to play professionally in 2016.

After her recent Suncorp Super Netball triumph with West Coast Fever, Francis-Bayman now switches her focus to international netball and the Commonwealth Games taking place in her home city.

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The defender made her international debut back in 2010, having previously represented England at U17, U19 and U21 level.

She has two Netball World Cup bronze medals – in 2011 and 2015 – to her name, as well as another bronze at the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

“Whilst there is still very much a job to be done in the coming weeks and there will be more to say then, I feel incredibly content to be able to say, on my own terms and at what feels like the right time, that I have decided to retire from playing netball,” she said.

“I am so thankful for the people that I have met and the experiences I have had that have made me into the passionate, courageous and honest woman that I am.”

Cardwell excited for ‘amazing opportunity’

Cardwell scored a career-high 641 goals during the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague season, more than any other goal attack in England’s elite league.

She was named the Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season and Players’ Player of the Season and will join the Adelaide Thunderbirds for the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball season.

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“I’m very excited for this opportunity to represent the Adelaide Thunderbirds – the team looks very exciting and full of talent,” Cardwell said.

“I can’t wait to get to Australia, meet the girls and get stuck in. Bring on the 2023 season.”

She joins already contracted Thunderbirds Matilda Garrett, Georgie Horjus, Hannah Petty, Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson on the club’s list for 2023.

Malcolm makes move to New Zealand

Malcolm joins a new-look Trident Homes Tactix side in New Zealand, as one of their two new mid-court recruits for the 2023 ANZ Premiership season.

Malcolm will team up with former Stars defender Greer Sinclair, who is also moving to the Mainland, along with established Tactix mid-courter Kimiora Poi and Parris Petera, who earns her first full contract with the red-and-black side.

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“It’s exciting to know that I’ll be training with and playing against a full cohort of New Zealand’s best athletes in the ANZ Premiership,” Malcolm said.

“There have been a few English players who have featured at the Tactix over the years, and they spoke so highly of the club and of Christchurch. So when I met with Marianne, I jumped at the opportunity.

“Lifting trophies with Manchester Thunder has been incredible, but it’s the personal growth and friendships that I’ve built at the club which I value most.

“My hope is that I continue to follow that path with the Tactix and I’m ready to embrace a new playing and coaching style so that I can take my game to the next level.”