After winning silver at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Netball Australia have named an Australian Diamonds squad with the goal of going one better at the Birmingham Games with an aim of defeating England on their home turf.
Netball Australia has announced the Australian Diamonds squad for the 2021/22 season with a dual goal of winning back the Constellation Cup against the old foes in New Zealand, and winning gold at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games against new foes and the surprise Gold Coast 2018 gold medal-winning England team.
The first goal for the Diamonds will be to win back the Constellation Cup against New Zealand later this year in a four-match series.
After an interrupted campaign due to COVID-19, the Diamonds lost the trans-Tasman series for the first time in eight years in March 2021.
It was a learning experience for Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich in her first international campaign in charge of the national side.
Marinkovich has now selected a squad with the hope to win back the Cup, and an opportunity for players to cement their place for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, which is now less than a year away.
For Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Jo Weston, the selected squad has the ambitions of winning back the Constellation Cup and continuing to build the squad ahead of the Birmingham Games.
“Every chance we get to play against international opposition is ideal for the Diamonds preparation,” Weston said.
“It is the ideal preparation going into the pinnacle event for netball, the Commonwealth Games”.
The Diamonds squad of 21 players, plus an extra camp invitee, include a number of younger squad members who are hungry to earn their first international cap, bringing with them a drive and determination that Weston believes is improving the whole squad.
“Younger athletes are getting opportunities in our domestic league and that is ideal in terms of bolstering our talent [in the Diamonds team],” Weston said.
“It is bolstering our talent and the capabilities we have as a wider squad.”
The key defender is among one of the most experienced players in the newly selected national team squad and after a challenging and difficult domestic Suncorp Super Netball league disrupted due to state lockdowns across Australia, Weston believes the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is serving as motivation to continue driving the squad.
“It is really exciting, it’s under a year away! It’s crazy to think how quickly the time has gone since the 2018 Commonwealth Games.,” Weston said.
“The team that is selected to go away to Birmingham are definitely going to be out on a mission.
“There will definitely be some firepower in the Australian team in the lead up to try and reclaim that gold medal”.
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