After an enthralling Constellation Cup series, this Wednesday will see the Australian Diamonds take on another formidable international opponent in the England Roses.
There’s plenty of talent and a few familiar faces on show in their tour down under. Here’s The Inner Sanctum’s picks for the Roses to watch this upcoming international series.
SSN and Adelaide Thunderbirds fans will get a first glimpse of new recruit and talented goaler Eleanor Cardwell in this upcoming series.
A part of a formidable attacking trio with fellow SSN superstars Helen Housby and Jo Harten, Cardwell has been a consistent performer in the Netball Superleague for nearly a decade with the Manchester Thunder and Severn Stars.
This past season saw her play a key role once again in helping the Thunder gain their fourth Superleague premiership, Cardwell had the fourth most goals (641), shooting at 90.7 per cent as well as getting 244 feeds.
At the 2022 Commonwealth Games she also impressed, scoring 207 goals at 92 per cent as well as providing 11 goal assists and 16 feeds.
While Housby and Harten may once more get the starting role over her, Cardwell will still have a major impact coming off the bench and could cause many headaches for Australia’s defensive end.
There are many experienced campaigners in this England outfit, none more so than 39-year-old Clarke.
The defensive midcourter is no stranger to Australia, having spent three seasons with the NSW Swifts and Thunderbirds. She has spent her last three seasons at Leeds Rhinos in the VNSL.
This season was another consistent season, collecting 222 feeds, 22 intercepts and 24 deflections. It was a similar story at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, getting 47 goal assists, 88 feeds, two intercepts and four deflections.
Whilst she might be near the twilight of her astonishing netballing career, Clarke will still be a key factor in the Roses winning once more in Australia.
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She continues to develop her game with every minute she plays, and now Fran Williams will look to develop it even further against the world’s best.
Having only started her domestic career six years ago with Surrey Storm, it only took two years to make her international debut and she’s since been a regular member for the Roses.
With this past domestic season being her first at Loughborough Lightning, she finished the season with 20 defensive rebounds, 36 intercepts and 58 deflections. And while she didn’t make it to the Commonwealth Games, she was named Player of the Series in England’s last international series against Uganda.
With no Stacey Francis-Bayman and Eboni Usoro-Brown in the squad, Williams will look to fill that void as well as build chemistry alongside England legend and SSN superstar Geva Mentor.
With over a decade worth of experience at the domestic level, Cobden will look to be another level headed presence in the Roses’ midcourt.
One of four members from Loughborough Lightning – having spent the last two seasons there – much like Clarke she isn’t unfamiliar to Australia, having spent a season with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2019.
She’s guided the Lightning to the last two grand finals, picking up a season MVP last year. This year saw her get 26 intercepts, 37 deflections and 25 feeds in 16 games.
Internationally, her last series came in the Netball Quad Series in January, with injury forcing her to miss the Commonwealth Games.
Her freshness at the international level could come as an advantage or disadvantage, but Cobden’s role will still be key if the Roses are to win over the world’s best at home.
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