SOMETIMES a club’s achievements can’t solely be measured by a league table or a trophy cabinet. Like all of their rivals in netball’s Superleague, the Strathclyde Sirens naturally want to deliver on-court success. The 1000 or so spectators who will cram into Glasgow’s Emirates Arena for this evening’s season home opener against Surrey Storm will demand as much.

There are wider goals, too, however, even for a semi-professional outfit whose players juggle daytime work and study demands without stinting on their commitment to their chosen sport.

Granted nationwide exposure through having their games broadcast live on Sky Sports, the Sirens are determined to make the most of that platform.

They have recently entered into a partnership with National Confidential Forum to help people who have experienced residential or institutional care and launched a #Kindness Revolution campaign about dealing with online trolls.

Their website also reads like a political manifesto as it underlines their pledge to helping tackle issues such as gender inequality. Winning is important but it’s clearly not the only thing that matters.

“Our players have a responsibility as role models for our sport,” said Lesley MacDonald, the Sirens head coach.

“They have to ensure that key messages are put across and young people are hearing them on a regular basis to help drive change.

“We’re aware of what is happening in society and we all have a role to play within that. We can’t sit back and allow or accept things to go on that aren’t right. We have to be at the forefront of making positive changes happen. We want to be game changers for the wider good.

“We run a hugely-successful community programme called Sirens for Success to engage more young people to take part in sporting activity and to help build the confidence of those individuals and change perceptions they might have of themselves. And it’s important that we keep engaging at that level and trying to make a difference.”


Growing the game is important, too. After all, there is little point in the Sirens creating strong female role models if there isn’t then a route where aspiring talent can follow in their footsteps.

“The more awareness we can raise of our sport through the media and being on Sky Sports the better,” added MacDonald who is also Netball Scotland’s Pathways Development Manager.

“We want to showcase netball as much as we can. Our profile has grown in recent years and there are more people looking to get involved. We run a number of different programmes through our Mini Netters for young children all the way through to our Walking Netball programme.

“We’re trying to facilitate a huge range of people through all ages. I feel we’re now in a good place with that but we can continue to grow.

“Our matches are all about providing entertainment as well. It’s not just the 60 minutes of netball but everything that goes on around it as well in the concourses so we are engaging with fans before, during and after each game.

“We want people to enjoy themselves when they come out to watch netball and if they do that then they’re likely to stay engaged with the team and the sport in general.”

This is the third game of MacDonald’s tenure as head coach, the first two ending in agonisingly narrow defeats on the road. Scotland’s most-capped player hopes that being back on home soil will help turn around their fortunes.

“There’s a bit of mixed feelings about those two results,” she added. “We’re frustrated as there were opportunities to win both of them. But at the same time the progression the team has made has been huge. The key thing going into the season was to make sure we were competitive in every game and we’ve shown that so far.

“Now it’s about putting the scoreboard in our favour and making sure that we turn those close things into victories.

“The home crowd is always so important to how we perform so we look forward to having their support for our opening game. They can help get us over the line.”