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Trio departs Thunderbirds

New Adelaide coach Michelle den Dekker has put her first mark on the Thunderbirds list, confirming that defenders Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Sam Poolman would not be offered contracts next season.

Beckford-Chambers, Poolman and Nicola Gray are the first confirmed departures from the Thunderbirds’ 2015 roster.

After an injury-interrupted season, Gray has informed the Thunderbirds she is returning to her home town of Sydney to concentrate on her studies.

Beckford-Chambers, who has been named in England’s team for the upcoming Netball World Cup in Sydney, joined the Thunderbirds in 2015 after three years at West Coast Fever.

After missing the finals in consecutive seasons, den Dekker said changes were necessary at the Thunderbirds.

“It’s always a difficult decision to release players, and we wanted to let them know as soon as possible so they have every opportunity of finding another club,” den Dekker said

“Sam has been a valued player in the Thunderbirds program for a long time, including during the 2013 championship year. I have every confidence that Sam has a bright future ahead, and wish Sam well in the next chapter of her career.

“As the new coach, I will be implementing a different style of game plan in 2016 and unfortunately Eboni doesn’t fit into my plans from a defensive point of view. I wish Eboni the very best in her World Cup campaign for England.”

Netball SA CEO Ben Scales said the three players have made a valuable contribution during their time at the club.

“For the past three years, Sam has had a positive impact both on and off the court for not only the Thunderbirds, but Netball SA as well,” Scales said.

“Along with being a member of the 2013 premiership team, Sam’s passion to grow the sport has been clear for all to see in her role as an ANZ NetSetGo Ambassador and she’ll be missed by the entire netball community.

“Eboni and Nicola have also had a positive impact on the team across last season and, on behalf of Netball SA and the Adelaide Thunderbirds, I wish all three players the very best with the next phase of their careers.”

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