24/04/2024
Netball players in Diamonds contention

Maddy Turner, Verity Charles, Kim Ravaillion and Donnell Wallam are all in contention for the Australian Diamonds squad. Photo: NSW Swifts/West Coast Fever/Queensland Firebirds/Leeds Rhinos Twitter

At the halfway mark of the Super Netball season, we take a look at the players in Australian Diamonds contention and who we'd select in the team.

At the halfway mark of the Super Netball season, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at the players in Australian Diamonds contention and who we’d select in the squad for upcoming tours.

The Diamonds next tour is currently scheduled for October and the selection committee will be keeping a close eye on those hitting the court at home and away.

Shooters 

The certainties

Sunshine Coast Lightning teammates Cara Koenen and Steph Wood will likely be the starting combination in the circle. 

Koenen is the only Australian starting goal shooter in the Super Netball competition. She was the preferred option in the March New Zealand series and has continued to impress.

Wood missed the Constellation Cup due to a knee injury, but should also be one of the first names selected. 

This duo has the added benefit of working together all year at the Lightning. 

Another player who missed the last series, but will likely walk right into the Diamonds squad, is Gretel Bueta. Bueta returned to Super Netball in 2021 after giving birth to her son, Bobby, in January.

The goal attack’s athleticism challenges defenders and will be an unpredictable alternative to have on the bench.

The contenders

Kiera Austin, Stacey Marinkovich’s preferred goal attack in the series against New Zealand, won’t feature in the Diamonds squad. Austin injured her ACL in Round 1 of the Super Netball season against the Adelaide Thunderbirds. 

To replace Austin, Marinkovich will be looking to young shooters Tippah Dwan and Sophie Garbin. 

Dwan had a breakout 2020 season in the absence of Bueta. Her performance saw her rewarded with Diamonds’ squad recognition and whilst she didn’t go to New Zealand she was involved in the preparation camps.

Dwan continues to take her opportunities in goal attack at the Firebirds and will be in contention in October.

Garbin attended the Constellation Cup in March but had very little game time during the series. Currently playing alternate to the Helen Housby-Sam Wallace show at the Swifts, Garbin will be out to show her potential for the green and gold dress in the second half of the season. 

Caitlin Bassett crossed the Tasman to play for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2021 and has fallen out of favour for Diamonds selection. A first-choice leader for previous coach Lisa Alexander, Marinkovich is after a different look in her circle.

Bassett has been up and down in the ANZ Premiership, but could sneak a place on the squad for her experience. 

The bolter

In the UK Superleague, Donnell Wallam is shooting herself into Diamonds contention. Wallam moved from the heat of Western Australia to the snow in Leeds to pursue netball professionally and has quickly become a fan favourite.

Wallam is an accurate shot and, after seven weeks off recovering from a broken wrist, continues her rapid rise. The goal shooter has scored 483 goals through the minor rounds, averaging 37 goals in her 13 appearances for the season. 

She should be in Diamonds’ squad conversations. 

Sarah Wildy

Midcourters 

The certainties

West Coast Fever midcourter Verity Charles and Swift Paige Hadley will be locks for the next Diamonds tour. 

In 2021, the pair have proven that they can rotate through the wing attack position and centre. Hadley has also made a name for herself in wing defence.

With Diamonds leader Liz Watson out with a foot injury, Marinkovich will need someone to make the wing attack position their own. 

The contenders 

Kim Ravallion’s first season back in purple has put her straight in the mix for Diamonds contention. Ravallion hasn’t been in a Diamonds squad since taking some time away from international netball in 2018.

Since returning to the game she hasn’t put a foot out of place, proving why she is one of the best in the game. 

Like Hadley and Charles, Jamie-Lee Price is very versatile in where she can play, having played most of the Super Netball season in at centre. She is also proven to be just as good in wing defence, bringing ferociousness to the defensive end.  

Kate Moloney hasn’t missed a beat since last season. She has also had to pick up the extra load with Liz Watson out of the Vixens’ side, and proven how valuable she is to the Diamonds, not just her skill level but her voice and leadership she brings to the court.

With a known leader like Liz Watson missing the next tour, Moloney will be a real asset to the team. 

One of the competitions best wing defences in Gabi Simpson will be high up there in Diamonds contention this year.

Her connection with Ravallion at the Firebirds is next level and she is a proven match-winner. Similar to Moloney, Simpson’s assets go beyond her skill with her on-court leadership and ability to lift the team some of her best assets.

The bolter

Sunshine Coast Lightning wing attack Laura Scherian is an outside chance, her speed of the centre pass and into the second phase on transition is one of the best in the league.

With Steph Wood and Cara Koenen more than likely the starting shooters, Scherian already has that connection with the pair and will make an unstoppable front line. 

Elly McNerney 

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Defenders 

The certainties

Courtney Bruce and Sarah Klau will likely start. After strong seasons and Diamonds experience, they are the logical pair to reignite the chemistry they showed on court last time for the Diamonds.

Klau, as anchor of the best defence in the Super Netball, has cemented her credentials as a long term defensive anchor for the Diamonds. Bruce, as the Keeper for the red-hot Fever, has been instrumental in their undefeated season so far.

Jo Weston and Kim Jenner are also certainties. Jenner has continued to grow this season, taking her game to a new level in the Firebirds defence. Weston, similarly, has plenty of Diamonds experience and will likely be called upon for her experience, despite the Vixens’ struggle this season.

The contenders

Maddy Turner has continued her growth, despite missing out on the Diamonds squad for the Constellation Cup. She has teamed with Klau to form a devastating tandem, with the duo conceding the fewest goals of any team in Super Netball. 

Tara Hinchcliffe has come off the bench as an impact player for the Firebirds, working in close concert with Jenner and Rudi Ellis, and is starting to hit form as the season hits the midpoint. 

Matilda Garrett has taken well to the team change, moving to the Thunderbirds and having an immediate impact.

As a member of the Youth World Cup team, Garrett has come of age this season and is likely to be on the radar of Marinkovich and the Diamonds selectors. 

The bolter

Emily Mannix has missed a chunk of the season with a hand injury. She was in the midst of a strong season when she fractured her knuckle against the Giants. It remains to be seen how her form will be on her return to injury.

As a Diamonds stalwart, she’ll likely be a strong chance, but with the strength of the defenders in the Super Netball, she will need to find her form quickly. 

Daniel Coppel 

Predicted Diamonds Squad 

PlayerClub
Cara KoenenSunshine Coast Lightning
Steph WoodSunshine Coast Lightning
Gretel BuetaQueensland Firebirds
Tippah DwanQueensland Firebirds
Sophie GarbinNSW Swifts
Caitlin BassettWaikato Bay of Plenty Magic
Donnell WallamLeeds Rhinos
Kate Moloney Melbourne Vixens 
Verity Charles West Coast Fever 
Paige Hadley NSW Swifts 
Laura Scherian Sunshine Coast Lightning 
Kim Ravallion Queensland Firebirds 
Gabi Simpson Queensland Firebirds 
Jamie-Lee Price Giants Netball 
Courtney BruceWest Coast Fever
Sarah KlauNSW Swifts
Jo WestonMelbourne Vixens
Kimberley JennerQueensland Firebirds
Maddy TurnerNSW Swifts
Matilda GarrettAdelaide Thunderbirds

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