Having moved at the end of the 2020 season from Celtic Dragons to Leeds Rhinos as part of a new franchise to compete in the Vitality Netball Super League, Paige Kindred has had her own challenges and opportunities to embrace in the 2021 season.
The Leeds Rhinos defender was thrown on halfway through a match when goalkeeper Tuanine Keenan went down injured and ever since has been in Dan Ryan’s starting seven.
Speaking to the Inner Sanctum, Paige discussed how her experience has been now being the starting goalkeeper for the new franchise.
‘’When she went down it all happened so quickly, Dan was flapping at me to get on and when I got on, I just went with the flow really,” she said.
‘’I feel I do excel in pressure situations, and as weeks have gone on it has become harder as know I am starting and expected to perform for the whole time.
‘’It has been a lot of pressure to be that strong position at the back, but it has been so exciting, I have probably learnt most in the last few months than ever.
‘’I feel so happy that the girls have had confidence in me, they’ve all been really supportive and that’s just the environment that we have created.
‘’I’m taking opportunity to be on court as well, as that’s what we all want, getting on the court and I’m really happy to get on there and have that chance to show what I can do.
‘’Having to put a performance out for the full game is pressure, the responsibility and accountability has really developed my game, and it’s nice to feel like your excited to do your job for full time rather than good job for a few minutes here and there. I feel so supported on court and I’m relishing learning so much.’’
Rhinos is gaining a reputation of putting together some very impressive performances, with many of their players praising their full-time programme for setting them up as a squad.
With Kindred moving from Celtic Dragons to Rhinos, the new programme was a major pull for her.
‘’I was really enjoying my time at Dragons and with Tania [Hoffman], but I was travelling from Manchester to Cardiff and I was only ever able to be there Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning so I missed being in that team environment.
‘’Those full six training days that I could attend with Rhinos was definitely appealing to me, as it has helped my game progress so much in this set up.
‘’The excitement of the new franchise and the girls on board were all really exciting, I love Dan’s style and it is such a positive environment so for me it seemed a great thing to do, I knew it was right thing at the right time.
‘’Full time suits my approach to training, and I am always involved, always with the group as I am always with the girls and creating the relationship that are key.’’
Kindred is clearly thriving after increased court time, training and confidence as Rhinos look to continue their impressive start in the league. As a team it is obvious, they have done an high volume of work on and off the court to have an impact in their first season.
‘’As a team we know our strengths, our roles and also our defensive strength – it’s been really exciting working with Vicky [Oyesola] in that circle and learning from each other and we can see that partnership growing, we are just raring to go every time.
‘’Sometimes I have been frustrated at some games we’ve lost as looking back we had the chances to take games but regardless I am so happy with what we put out on court, we’ve done amazing considering what’s been going on and its credit to the group and environment.
‘’We’ve got room to build on all those structures but on court we have done the right things, always got things to work on but we are all really happy at the rate we are going.’’