Simpson keen to hold court in England

Gabi Simpson’s recent taste of international netball has the versatile Australian Diamonds midcourter hungry for more.

No doubt those opportunities will come for Simpson on Australia’s three-Test tour of England, which gets underway on January 21 (AEDT) in Liverpool.

With Renae Ingles absent through injury, the door is open for the likes of Simpson – or potentially Ashleigh Brazill – to step up and fill the wing defence role for the series against the Roses.

Simpson is eager to push her claims on that spot in the line-up. The 23-year-old made her international debut in last year’s Constellation Cup series against New Zealand and said she’s excited to be working with a young midfield group on this tour.

“We’ll really miss Renae, not only for her ability on the court but the way she leads the team. She’s a presence on the court,” Simpson said.

“But it’s a great chance for some of us to step up and take on that role. We’re creating some good connections between the new centre court players and we’re ready to go.

“Our whole midcourt for this tour is young and we’re really excited to put ourselves out there, create good connections and have a successful tour. It’s going to create some exciting depth in Australia and even greater competition for those top 12 spots.”

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said Simpson showed during the Constellation Cup Series against the Silver Ferns late last year she’s ready to elevate her game at international level.

“Gabi did a great job in the first two Tests (of the Constellation Cup) and she’s been very close to (Diamonds) selection since the Commonwealth Games, when she was one of our training partners,” Alexander said.

“She can see this is her opportunity to get a lot of court time and perform well. It will be a big job shutting down (England wing attack) Sasha Corbin and Gabi and Ash bring variety to the role for us.

“Ash’s experience playing centre is also a consideration for us.”

Having spent the past few weeks training, Simpson was excited to meet up with some of her teammates at the pre-tour training camp in Melbourne before linking up with the rest on route to England.

“Running back and forth is boring when you’re by yourself,” Simpson said.

“It’s great to finally be ready to play netball now. Everyone’s put in the hard yards in our home states and it’s exciting to have everyone together and use that energy to create even better performances.”