Simpson gets her chance to shine in gold

Simpson1Gabi Simpson didn’t have time to get nervous ahead of her international debut when the call-up came from Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander in the opening Test of the Constellation Cup series.

When a leg complaint forced vice-captain Renae Ingles to the bench mid-way through the second quarter of Australia’s 50-44 win over New Zealand in Christchurch, Alexander immediately turned to Simpson to take over the wing defence bib.

Simpson, who turned 23 last weekend, played a quarter-and-a-half at wing defence before being replaced by her Queensland Firebirds teammate Clare McMeniman for the final term as the Diamonds took a 1-0 series lead.

Simpson, who was presented her Australian dress pre-game by Firebirds coach and former Australian defender Roselee Jencke, said the step up in intensity from what she’s experienced at ANZ Championship level was what she expected.Simpson2

“To finally get an opportunity to get on the court in the gold dress is something I’ve been waiting a very long time for and very proud to say I’ve done it and look forward to few more in the future I hope,” Simpson said.

“I’ve been involved with this group for the last three years so I’ve been able to learn off them, watch and observe how they go about their business so I felt very prepared and ready to take the court.”

Simpson said when Alexander told her she was going out on court to replace Ingles, she was well prepared.

“Lisa has made that clear that she’s willing to throw anyone on at any time,” Simpson said.

“So I didn’t know when (call-up) it was going to happen. I didn’t know it would be in the middle of the quarter but I’ll take what I can get.

“It took me a second to work out which direction we were going but I loved every second of it.”

The Diamonds will be out to take a firm grip on retaining the Constellation Cup when the second Test is played in Auckland on Thursday night at 5.30pm (AEDT).

The match will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS and the Netball Live app.