Everything the Queensland Firebirds have touched has turned to gold this season and the quintet of Laura Geitz, Clare McMeniman, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson and Gretel Tippett are hoping that success continues in the upcoming Constellation Cup.
The Firebirds won the ANZ Championship title in 2015 while Geitz led the Australian Diamonds to a memorable victory at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 with Ravaillion a key part of that triumph.
The group would love those winning ways to continue when the Diamonds renew their rivalry with the Silver Ferns for the four-Test Constellation Cup series which starts in Christchurch on Tuesday 20 October.
McMeniman, Simpson and Tippett have all been called into the Diamonds squad for the series.
While McMeniman has played one Test for her country – against England in Canberra last year – Simpson and Tippett are among four players set to make their international debut. Melbourne Vixens defender Jo Weston and West Coast Fever captain Ashleigh Brazill are the others.
Simpson said when the Diamonds’ Constellation Cup team comes together for a training camp in a fortnight’s time that’s when the realisation will hit that she’s on the verge of representing her country.
“I’ve been a training partner for a couple of tournaments but to know that I get to put the green and gold dress on at the end of this one makes it worthwhile,” Simpson said.
“We’ve all been training in our home states so I think when we do come into camp, that’s when it will really hit me and I’ll believe that I’m in the team.
“At the (Diamonds Future Focus) camp we were given a bit of Diamonds gear and I looked at Gretel and said `this is ours to keep’. That makes us train that bit harder knowing there is a reward at the end of it.”
Training with the Diamonds ahead of major competitions like the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 has given Simpson a glimpse of the intensity of netball at the international level.
The 22-year-old has represented Australia at the Netball World Youth Cup (2013) and at the FAST5 Netball World Series (2013 and 2014).
“Being a training partner I was very fortunate and been able to observe how the girls go about their business and the intensity at which they train has prepared me quite well,” Simpson said.
“Obviously I won’t know what it’s going to be like until I step out on court but I can not wait to experience that feeling.”
“Winning is fun,” she declared. “Before the Firebirds won the ANZ Championship this season, in the past two seasons I’d been part of five runners up with the World Youth Cup, FAST5 and losing two Grand Finals (for the Firebirds) in a row.
“I was in the crowd for the World Cup Final and it was unbelievable. To have all of those people cheering for you will be a fantastic experience and I can’t wait for that.”
Limited tickets are still available to purchase for the Test matches in Melbourne (25 October) and Perth (30 October). To purchase, visit Ticketek’s website, phone 132 849 or any Ticketek outlet.
The 2015 Constellation Cup Series will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and the Netball Live app.