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Magee faces long lay-off after season-opener injury


Setback: Emma Magee saw her Surrey Storm debut cut short by injury

Setback: Emma Magee saw her Surrey Storm debut cut short by injury

Setback: Emma Magee saw her Surrey Storm debut cut short by injury

Emma Magee's dream quickly turned into a nightmare on Saturday as her debut in netball's British SuperLeague lasted only four minutes due to injury.

The 23-year-old Belfast woman was fulfilling a long-held ambition to play in the northern hemisphere's premier competition when she took the court for Surrey Storm.

Along with Northern Ireland team-mate Niamh Cooper, newcomer Magee made Mikki Austin's starting seven for Storm's opening game of the 2021 campaign.

The big breakout star for the Warriors at the 2019 World Cup, Magee netted a confident first goal as Storm started strongly in their derby battle against London Pulse.

Disaster soon struck though as the young goal attack had to be helped off in the early stages and a scan today should reveal the precise extent of the damage to her ankle.

An initial x-ray after the match confirmed no fracture, but badly torn ligaments could keep Magee sidelined for some time both for Storm and Northern Ireland.

Her teenage replacement Sophie Kelly picked up the Player of the Match award on her first SuperLeague appearance as Storm edged a thriller 42-40 against Pulse.

Northern Ireland's Michelle Drayne did well off the bench for Pulse, who went ahead for the first time shortly after she came on at centre in the third quarter.

Drayne was the only one of the six Warriors in SuperLeague to taste defeat in the opening round of fixtures following Friday evening's wins for Leeds Rhinos and Manchester Thunder.

Northern Ireland captain Caroline O'Hanlon's Thunder launched their title defeat by beating Strathcylde Sirens 53-36 but the headlines were made by new Yorkshire franchise Rhinos.

With NI's Aussie head coach Dan Ryan at the helm, a Rhinos side captained by Warriors defender Fionnuala Toner trounced Celtic Dragons 65-35.

"I told the players to make sure they enjoyed this special day for the club, and to win by 30 goals is a big bonus. There's room for improvement but we've had a positive start," said Ryan, whose Rhinos side face Saracens Mavericks tonight (Sky Sports, 7.15pm).

Belfast Telegraph