Who’s in the running for a spot in the Diamonds squad?

With selection just around the corner, who's in the running for Diamonds selection? (Photos: Super Netball, Collingwood Magpies, Melbourne Vixens)

As coach Stacey Marinkovich looks to select her Diamonds squad for the upcoming Constellation Cup, The Inner Sanctum takes a look at who may make the squad that will compete in October.

Our experts have carefully combed through the options available ahead of the upcoming Diamonds selection.

Shooters 

Cara Koenen

Koenen debuted for the Diamonds in March, and will be in strong contention to start once again in goals this Constellation Cup. 

The Sunshine Coast Lightning shooter has maintained 90 per cent accuracy this Super Netball season, as her team enters its fifth consecutive finals series. 

Koenen owns the baseline on every court, using it to her advantage with her strong dodge and cuts through. 

Her ability to push out to goal attack makes Australia more versatile and can leave the opposition guessing. 

Steph Wood

Steph Wood is a real barometer for the Sunshine Coast Lightning. When she’s up and about, so are the Lightning, and it would be easy to imagine her bringing that same quality to the Diamonds squad.

She’s dangerous right across that goal circle. Her ability to shoot the long shot in particular makes her a dangerous prospect for opposition defenders. 

In 2021, Wood has converted 181 goals and is shooting at 77 per cent. She isn’t afraid to take the risks with long shots or feeding it into her goal shooter. 

With shooting partner at the Lightning in Cara Koenen also likely to be selected, they’ve already got that on court chemistry, so it will be a seamless transition into the green and gold for the pair. 

Gretel Bueta

Bueta returned to the Super Netball court this year after giving birth to son Bobby, and has confirmed she’s still a chance to appear in the green and gold once again. 

Australia missed her athleticism and unpredictability during the last Test matches.

Her versatility to play in at goal shooter and venture out to goal attack makes the Diamonds a stronger line up. She’s had a solid year under the post, shooting at 80 per cent this season.

Bueta’s athleticism challenges defenders, and will be an unpredictable alternative to what a traditional shooter will bring to the Australian goal circle. 

Dark Horse: Sophie Dwyer

The unsung hero of the Giants team this year, Sophie Dwyer has fit into the Giants goal circle like a glove after fellow shooter Kiera Austin went down with an ACL injury in round one.

Much like Steph Wood, Dwyer doesn’t shy away from the long shot which makes her just as dangerous at the top of the circle than she would be under the post. 

Dwyer has converted 329 goals for the season and is shooting at 78 per cent. Her bombastic play style means she doesn’t shy away from the big moments. She would slot in nicely to the Australian goal circle if she’s selected. 

At just 19, Dwyer is proving that age is just a number after being a key element to the Giants quest for the side’s  maiden premiership.

Sarah Wildy 

Midcourters 

Kim Ravaillion

Ravaillion has made her return to netball this year, and she hasn’t looked out of place. She’s been the barometer for the Firebirds in her usual centre role.

When she’s at the very top of her game, the Firebirds come away with a win. In addition to play her own game at an elite level. she works just as hard to bring her teammates into the game. 

Ravaillion is sitting second in the Super Netball for goal assists with 258. Not only has she returned to the game without missing a beat, but she’s arguably in career best form. 

With a known leader like Liz Watson missing out on this upcoming series due to the a foot injury, the Diamonds will be missing that level leadership, especially in the mid-court. Ravaillion can certainly provide that. 

Having a relatively inexperienced side last tour, having Ravaillion also will provide that experience to the side. She already has 60 international caps to her name, which could quite possibly make her the most capped player in this year’s Diamonds team.

If she puts her name in the ring for the Diamonds, she’s bound to be one of the first picked. 

Kelsey Browne 

This is Browne’s first full season of Super Netball since 2018, having suffered an ACL injury in 2019 and then another knee injury in 2020. Back at full fitness, she’s made an immediate impact in that Magpies mid-court.

She’s fourth for goal assists for the 2021 season with 254, and has lifted the relatively young Magpies front line around her. 

Having spent the first two seasons of her Super Netball career at the Sunshine Coast Lightning, she’s already built pre-existing connections with a possible goal circle of Steph Wood and Cara Koenen.

Much like her sister Madi, Browne has the speed and class to add to her side’s attacking end. She isn’t afraid to take risks, whether that be going for an intercept or a long ball into the goal circle. 

Her last Diamonds campaign was the 2019 World Cup, where she was named Player of the Match in the side’s wins over Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. 

Paige Hadley 

As shown while playing at the Swifts this season, Hadley brings a level of versatility not found in many other mid-courters, being able to play all three mid-court positions. 

While we don’t see Hadley in wing defence that often, she does provide a strong level defensive play across all three positions that allows her to pick up the crumbs or the intercept, with six intercepts and and five deflections in 2021. 

Hadley boasts an elite netball brain, consistently positioning herself on court to either work off her direct opponent, or helping to set up a box defence by blocking the space that the opposition run into. She’s demonstrated the ability to keep up her smart play under pressure, a quality that will be greatly enjoyed at Diamond level.

Being the co-captain of her side, she provides leadership and voice both on and off court. Likely having a relatively young side in the way of international experience around her, she provides valuable experience and can guide the less capped players. 

Amy Parmenter 

To think that this is only Amy Parmenter’s third season in the Suncorp Super Netball is outstanding. 

Parmenter has been extremely consistent over the 2021 season in a top of the ladder side. When the Giants need to lift, she’s normally the one that gets the key intercept or that tip to be able to win back possession. 

She always finds a way to cast doubt in the minds of the attacker, because of how fearless she can be on her willingness to go for the intercept.

The impact that she has made on the Giants side in only three seasons just proves that she can step into the Diamonds environment and immediately make an impact. 

Dark Horse: Ash Brazill

Ash Brazill hasn’t put a foot out of place since returning after an ACL injury sustained during the 2020 AFLW season. 

She’s a real barometer for the Collingwood Magpies, the game against the Firebirds in Tasmania a prime example.  Brazill was moved into centre and turned the game on it’s head, providing run and flare into the Magpies front line that they had been lacking prior. 

Her versatility is a major strength, being able to play both centre and wing defence to an elite level. Brazill can carry over her strong defensive style of play into the attacking end, and give it a different look.

Brazill has had 16 ​​intercepts for the 2021 Super Netball season and 47 deflections, which just proves when she’s given an inch, she can take it and run with it. 

Being a dual code athlete and the AFLW pre-season starting in September, depending on Collingwood’s flexibility on her availabilities may be the only thing in her way in coming back into the Diamonds line up. 

Elly McNerney 

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Defenders 

Courtney Bruce

Courtney Bruce is a sure pick for Diamonds selection following an outstanding performance for the Fever this season.

Bruce has been consistent all year long, raking in a total of 44 intercepts, 88 deflections and 22 rebounds for the Fever. She captains her team from the back, demonstrating her experience and determination.

We’ve seen Bruce perform under pressure so many times this season. Leading the Fever after they were penalised for breaking the salary cap, she has done everything within her power to help her side make finals. 

As a result, Bruce has the confidence and ability to prove herself on the international stage with ease.

Part of the silver medal winning Commonwealth Games team, Bruce already has a bond with Marinkovich. While we normally focus on partnerships across lines on the court, this off-court partnership will be extremely useful in enforcing a solid defensive line for the green and gold. 

Sarah Klau 

Consistent and determined, Sarah Klau brings a versatile flare to the Diamonds’ defensive end.

Klau’s ability to read the ball has been instrumental for the Swifts this year, consistently capitalising off cross-court passes. She will be looking to replicate her seasonal performance in the Constellation Cup. 

Already a representative Diamond, Klau has previously proved herself on the international stage, forcing shooters to change their comfortable style of gameplay. 

Her body-on-body defensive technique hinders the ability of active shooters who like to dominate the goal line. 

Securing 20 rebounds and 32 intercepts in 2021, Klau will bring the same intensity to the Diamonds team as she does to the Swifts every week.

Jo Weston 

Despite featuring in the tumultuous downfall of the Vixens this year, Weston played a key role in keeping her team in the game through intercepts, forced turnovers and rebounds.

Weston brings a high intensity to the defensive end and has international experience playing wing defence, which comes as an added benefit for the Diamonds’ outfit.

Reaching the milestone of 100 national league games this season, Weston has been a consistent member of the Vixens squad for years, featuring in the leadership team this season. 

Weston is a tough competitor with a strong work rate and the ability to keep her team composed in the hardest of times.

The 27-year-old will complement the gameplay of Klau and Bruce, with a similar body-on-body intercept hunting nature. 

Dark Horse: Sunday Aryang

Sunday Aryang has rapidly developed into one of the strongest young defenders in the league this year. 

Under the guidance of Bruce, Aryang has flourished into a fearless athlete, notching up consistent game time against some of the netball’s strongest shooters. 

Coming through the Netball WA pathway, Aryang earned her selection in the Australian 21 and Under squad earlier in the year, but her youth comes as a significant advantage for the Diamonds ensemble. 

With Marinkovich as her coach and Bruce as her captain, Aryang will slot comfortably into the Australian team, with the determination to prove she can execute just as strongly as she does every week.

Jessica Miles 

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