The International season is upon us, with the Netball Quad Series and Constellation Cup not far away.
Our 18 Samsung Diamonds and four invitees gathered at the Netball Centre of Excellence in Canberra a few weeks ago. with our national support staff, for a seven-day camp designed to make our athletes (and staff) comfortable with being uncomfortable.
We had a few tricks up our sleeves to see how the squad would cope in situations that could occur during a tour and just generally to “push and prod”. Our electronic calendar ‘went down’ for a day, which saw us revert back to good old-fashioned pen and paper. I did my best to distract athletes during courtwork sessions, blowing the whistle much more than usual, stopping at random intervals and more. The athletes coped with my tricks very well, showing that they could adapt to added pressure when required.
Ray McLean from Leading Teams ran three sessions at camp, facilitating discussions around our trademark ‘sisters in arms’ and the team culture of the Diamonds. The room was filled with positive vibes and we are excited to put it all out on court on Saturday 26 August, when we host the England Roses in the first test of the Netball Quad Series.
The Netball Quad Series marks a critical step in our journey towards the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April 2018. After our first year of Suncorp Super Netball, with the national league stepping up another level in intensity, we await England, New Zealand and South Africa with interest. We’ve seen English and South African athletes perform well in Suncorp Super Netball, and New Zealand athletes have spent their first season of their new national netball league refining their craft.
The Brisbane test marks “Give For A Goal Day”. We’re encouraging the netball community to unite to support vulnerable girls around the country, by fundraising at your club or association. Your assistance will help empower vulnerable girls on and off the netball court. Suncorp have kick-started the fundraising effort by pledging a generous $50,000 to the cause. Thank-you Suncorp for believing in such a great cause and proactive action.
Tickets to the Netball Quad Series are on sale now, with our first test against England at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, followed by our test against South Africa at AIS Arena, Canberra. You can secure your seat at ticketek.com.au – we hope to see you cheering us on in green and gold. Your presence at the matches and watching on Nine and Telstra are both extremely important to us and help us to go that extra centimetre.
Congratulations to our magnificent Netball World Youth Cup team, led by head coach Tania Obst. Although the Gold Medal match may not have been the result we were after, it is certain that the future of Australian netball is strong. I woke up at all hours of the night to watch our mighty team live on Facebook, and it brought a tear to my eye to see the ferocity with which they represented our country.
Last month I had the honour of attending Netball Australia’s inaugural Indigenous High Performance Camp, also at Netball’s Centre of Excellence. What an amazing gathering and to see the development in one day of the athletes in attendance was inspiring. I am sure that Marcia Ella-Duncan and Sharon Finnan-White as past Australian players, and whom attended the Camp as mentors and coaches, felt a great emotional connection and sense of triumph regarding the journey that has been this Camp.
May there be many more Indigenous High Performance Camps in the future and more Indigenous talent on display as Samsung Diamonds in the future.
The first steps are important we must now continue to drive this program.