Australian Diamonds Head Coach Stacey Marinkovich has announced her first tour squad that will travel to New Zealand for the Constellation Cup four-match test series being played from 2-7 March against the Diamonds archrivals.
With Gold Coast 2018 silver medallist Steph Wood and Melbourne Vixens star Emily Mannix both sitting out of the tour to focus on recovery from post-season surgeries (knee and hip respectively), and Gretel Bueta on maternity leave, their absences have provided opportunities for Queensland young guns Tippah Dwan and Tara Hinchliffe to experience an international tour as tour invitees.
Marinkovich said she is delighted to have Dwan and Hinchliffe, 2020/21 Australian Development Squad members, joining the tour and squad which features six players from the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medal winning side.
“Both Tippah and Tara have had outstanding Suncorp Super Netball seasons last year and have featured strongly in our pathway talent identification process over the past few years,” Marinkovich said.
“It’s unfortunate that we will be without Steph, Emily and Gretel for this test series, but the silver lining is that we’re able to expose Tippah and Tara, two of our most promising up-and-comers, to our Diamonds environment when they may not have otherwise had the opportunity to gain this experience so early on in their careers.”
Taking the helm of her first international series after being named Diamonds head coach in August 2020, Marinkovich will be joined on the sidelines by Diamonds legends and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Michelle Den Dekker and Sharelle McMahon who will make a return to the green and gold after being appointed specialist coaches for the test series.
Marinkovich is delighted to have the experienced duo on board.
“Both Michelle and Sharelle are absolute professionals in their fields with incredibly impressive playing and coaching careers and we’re honoured to have them a part of the program,” she said.
“As specialist coaches, Michelle and I will work closely together and construct our defensive brand whilst Sharelle will have her focus directed on our shooting circle. I’m really looking forward to, not only seeing how we evolve as a coaching unit, but how we can challenge, develop and evolve our players to produce a really cohesive style of play.
“We have a series of goals we want to achieve on and off the court and to start our campaign with such an incredible high-performance team is extremely exciting for both myself and the girls.”
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In preparation for the Constellation Cup test series, the squad will come together this Friday 12 February in Sydney for a three-day camp ahead of their departure for Christchurch on Monday 15 February, where they will enter quarantine at a managed international quarantine facility for 14 days.
“Our group of players and staff are looking forward to entering the performance environment for the first time as an entire squad. We are excited by the opportunity to start implementing our game plan and put it into practice before we head into quarantine on Monday,” Marinkovich said.
“Whilst the environment we’re entering is unique, as a group we will continue to focus on the things we can control and embrace each challenge and experience that arises. There’s no greater netball rivalry than the Diamonds and Silver Ferns and we’re going into this series with a very targeted purpose, to ensure we walk away with knowledge and a true understanding of our performance.”
The Constellation Cup test matches are then being played at Christchurch Arena on Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd March and then at Trustpower Baypark in Tauranga on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th March.
Netball Australia is working closely with the Australian Government on the process and travel arrangements.
The 2020 Constellation Cup was postponed due to the impact of COVID-19 on international travel. Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand are hoping to complete two Constellation Cup tournaments in 2021, one in March and one in October.
Australian Diamonds Squad – March Constellation Cup tour
|Jess Anstiss||Western Australia|
|Kiera Austin||New South Wales|
|Caitlin Bassett||Western Australia|
|Courtney Bruce||Western Australia|
|Verity Charles||New South Wales|
|Sophie Garbin||Western Australia|
|Paige Hadley||New South Wales|
|Sarah Klau||South Australia|
|Jamie-Lee Price||New South Wales|
|Maddy Proud||South Australia|
|Gabi Simpson||New South Wales|
|MARCH CONSTELLATION CUP TOUR INVITEES|