It’s been a busy time for myself and the team since we lifted the trophy.
We visited Parliament House in Canberra to spend time with former Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP and then also attended a wonderful public reception in Sydney’s Martin Place hosted by NSW Premier Mike Baird and Sports Minister Stuart Ayres.
While pouring over the fantastic coverage the Diamonds received from the media during the Netball World Cup, I came across a brilliant article written in The Australian newspaper by senior journalist Will Swanton the day after the final against New Zealand.
I thought I’d share some of what he wrote with you.
`Hallelujah! This was sport at its finest. Elite athletes knowing how to walk the treacherous line between competitiveness and respect. Australia’s netball team is as hardcore as any side or individual to represent the nation.’
To read this article about the Diamonds’ place in the Australian sport landscape made the past four years of blood, sweat and tears all worth it – so thank you Will for those words.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve also visited the Brothers Netball Club in Bundaberg to hold a training session and distributed brand new ANZ Netball Nation uniforms and ASICS runners to some excited youngsters from the Kalkaringi School netball team on their recent visit to Melbourne for a netball tournament.
We’ve also selected the Diamonds’ Constellation Cup Squad and organised home training programs for those athletes with the state-based coaches.
Plus I’ve been putting the last minute touches on next week’s ` Future Diamonds Focus’ camp being held at our Centre of Excellence at the AIS in Canberra.
This camp features 21 athletes from the next tier of our national program and a world-class coaching panel including Jenny Borlase, Jill McIntosh and Jane Searle will put them through our Diamonds focused tactical and technical skills and strategies.
This will assist the strengthening of our depth in the immediate athlete pathway and ensure that Australia and the Diamonds continue our work towards maintaining our Number One World Ranking.
Netball Australia has also launched a wonderful resource for coaches, which is second to none.
The KNEE program, developed by Australian team physiotherapist Alanna Antcliff, is quite simply a magnificent and comprehensive resource for coaches around the country to assist us to better prepare the players and athletes in our care.
We are also looking firmly toward the next four-year cycle starting with the upcoming Constellation Cup Series against New Zealand.
With three retirements from the World Cup Team, Clare McMeniman, Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett, April Letton, Jo Weston and Ashleigh Brazill have been selected to make the step up to international competition at its most pressured against our great opponents the Silver Ferns.
All of these athletes have been working hard in their home states on their training programs and are chomping at the bit to get their opportunity to contribute their unique abilities to the Diamonds.
Congratulations also to Jo, Liz Watson, and Kristiana Man’ua for being elevated into the Diamonds’ extended squad to replacing the retired trio of Kimberlee Green, Rebecca Bulley and Julie Corletto.
The National Selectors – Annie Sargeant, Michelle Wilkins and myself – were impressed with their performances for the Australian 21/U team in trial matches against the Silver Ferns, New Zealand A, England and the Diamonds prior to the Netball World Cup and also their development over the course of the ANZ Championship season.
It is heartening to know that we have such fine young athletes ready to make that next step up into the Diamonds squad.
We are really looking forward to seeing all of our fans at our Melbourne and Perth Tests in October. Remember, if you can’t get to the venues then watch us live on FOX Sports or Channel Ten.
We love and value your support!