15/04/2024
Sophie Garbin, Lauren Moore and Natalie Haythornthwaite (L-R) have announced their departures from the Swifts.

Sophie Garbin, Lauren Moore and Natalie Haythornthwaite (L-R) have announced their departures from the Swifts. (Images: NSW Swifts/Twitter; Dani Brown)

The NSW Swifts will be full of new faces in 2022 as they take on their premiership defence, after three key players announced their departures.

The NSW Swifts have had a third member of their premiership team depart, as they announced on Friday that Lauren Moore would take up an opportunity elsewhere. For all the Suncorp Super Netball signing news, stay up to date with our Off-Season Hub and follow The Inner Sanctum’s netball podcast, Over a Third, on Twitter and Instagram to get the news when it breaks.

Moore joined Sophie Garbin and Natalie Haythornthwaite as members of the 2021 Swifts who played in the iconic red dress for the last time in their Grand Final victory over the Giants.

Haythornthwaite announced that she would be returning to England after a successful time at the club, after coming over from England in 2018 as an injury replacement player. She played 37 games for the Swifts in that season and the years that followed, including both the 2019 and 2021 premierships.

“When I got the call to come in as a replacement player in 2018, I never thought that I would go on to have the experiences I’ve had at the club,” the mid-courter said.

“I have loved every moment of my time with the Swifts and playing with – and against – so many of the world’s best players in Suncorp Super Netball.

“After these past few years I am really excited to be going home, getting married, seeing my family and playing some more netball. But I also can’t wait to cheer on the Swifts late at night on the TV.”

Garbin’s departure was announced first, as the 24-year-old had informed the Swifts that she was taking up an opportunity at Collingwood.

After also joining in 2018, Garbin has been a key part of the shooting trio that has taken the Swifts to their two premierships.

“It has been an honour to play for a club as prestigious and successful as the Swifts and I will be forever grateful for the experiences I’ve had since joining four years ago,” the shooter said.

“A lot of players don’t get the chance to win a Premiership and I’ve been lucky enough to win two in my time at the Swifts. That wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my Swifts teammates, coaches, club staff and members and fans; all of whom I will be eternally thankful for.

“The decision to leave has been one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make but I would like to thank everyone at the club, its supporters and Netball NSW for an amazing four years.”

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Moore has been a member of the Swifts since 2016, and hails from the Central Coast.

After missing the 2019 Grand Final win through injury, Moore made up for it with a key role in the 2021 premiership season, including seeing time on court during the 2021 Grand Final.

“I honestly love this club so much. I have shared some of the best moments of my life with my Swifts teammates, coaches, staff members and fans over the past six years,” the 23-year-old defender said.

“As you can imagine this was a decision I thought long and hard over and its been an exceptionally difficult one to make, but I feel it is the best one for me to take my game to the next level.

“Like Sophie and Nat said earlier in the week, the Swifts will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m leaving with very happy memories and a lot of friendships.”

This year Moore played a number of roles, spending time both in the defensive circle as an alternative to Maddy Turner, and also splitting the wing defence role with Tayla Fraser for much of the year.

Swifts coach Briony Akle paid tribute to each of the departing players, who have all been key components of her side.

“Sophie has been a pleasure to work with, and while we are sad to see her go, we understand her decision,” the two-time premiership coach said.

“The nature of professional sport means that players always come and go, but Sophie leaves us with two titles and will always be known as a double-Premiership champion of the Swifts.”

While Haythornthwaite spent much of season 2021 on the bench with Akle, that didn’t stop the coach’s effusive praise for her English mid-courter.

“At the Swifts we try to instil a culture of good people making great players and Natalie is one of the best on both counts,” Akle said.

“She has spent a huge amount of time away from her fiance and family in very tough circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that never changed her professional and team-first approach which was hugely valued by everyone at the club.

“We completely understand her decision to go back to the UK and she does so with two titles under her belt. That’s a pretty great return for a very special individual.”

Akle also paid tribute to the young defender, whose versatility was a key part of the coach’s ability to play different combinations of players throughout the year.

“We are obviously sad to see Lozzie [Moore] go but we understand her decision and we respect it,” Akle said.

“I have had the privilege of coaching her through the Netball NSW pathway right up to Swifts level and I’ve been hugely impressed by how she’s bounced back from big injury setbacks to establish herself as a top level player.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Lozzie has had offers from other clubs and we wish her all the best for what comes next.

“She will always be a Swifts Premiership champion. I’m delighted that we were able to achieve that during her time with us.”

The three departures mean that the Swifts will be on the recruiting path for new depth, as all three of the players who started on their bench in the Grand Final will be playing elsewhere in 2022.

Moore’s versatility, in particular, had meant that she had played a supporting role for Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner while playing in the midcourt as well. Haythornthwaite’s departure means that Maddy Proud and Paige Hadley will also be looking for a new member of their mid-court group.

Garbin joining Collingwood leaves a question mark over the Pies’ shooting circle, with many shooters who will be looking for a new team in 2022.

The Swifts are expected to announce the balance of their roster in the coming weeks before the end of the signing period on October 8.

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