McMeniman excited to accept leadership role

Clare McMeniman jokes that she’ll comfortably fill the shoes of Laura Geitz as Australian Diamonds captain because they wear the same size Asics.

In all seriousness, McMeniman is incredibly proud to be elevated to the role as acting captain for the Diamonds three-Test series against England to cover for the absence of her great friend and teammate in Geitz.

The experienced defender will be supported in the leadership group for the tour by Caitlin Bassett and Sharni Layton, who have been named acting joint vice-captains.

The trio will step up as leaders in the absence of Geitz and the injured Renae Ingles.

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has no doubt that McMeniman, Bassett and Layton will continue to lead the team to the high standards that has been set.

McMeniman served as vice-captain to Geitz at the Queensland Firebirds in 2015, the pair leading the team to their second ANZ Championship title.

But the 29-year-old’s elevation to lead her country – for at least three Tests against the Roses – rates as the greatest accolade she’s achieved in her career.

Plus, she knows that her good friend is only a phone call away should she need some advice or someone to be a sounding board while the Diamonds are in action.

“I have learnt so much and grown so much being a leader with Geitzy at the Firebirds,” McMeniman said.

“We’ve always thrown ideas off each other and I’ve been lucky enough to be under her leadership in both the Firebirds and Diamonds format.

“I don’t ever want to try and be Geitzy. I’m just hoping to bring myself to the role am looking forward to working with all of the girls in England to keep lifting the Diamonds standards.

“I feel like it’s not just me in the role anyway; it’s really a team within that leadership group with the support of Lisa so it’s something that we’ll do together.

“We’re just hoping to put out good performances and walk away with three (wins) from three (Tests).

“I know that if I ever have any questions I can always give Geitzy a call; she bleeds green and gold and she’ll be happy to take the call.”

Alexander is delighted for McMeniman to be given the responsibility of leading her country having watched her development for more than a decade, starting as her 21/U national coach.

“Clare has certainly impressed everyone,” Alexander said.

“Everyone could see her leadership qualities. Her ability to put the team ahead of herself was highlighted in our preparation for the Netball World Cup (last year).

“We asked Clare to come in right up until basically the last minute for Julie Corletto and help us out and she did that selflessly and was positive and very encouraging. She’s got a great head on her shoulders.

“She’s also a great high performance athlete and has been for many years and all the athletes in the group certainly saw those qualities. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that she was voted into this position within the group; it’s a credit to her.”

McMeniman is also pleased that Bassett and Layton will have the chance to develop their leadership skills at international level and said the trio all bring different qualities to the roles.

“They’ve been leaders in the making the last few years for the Diamonds and it’s really great to see them get the opportunity as well to step up,” McMeniman said.

“Even though we differ in our personalities, our main values and core of what we stand for is exactly what the Diamonds stand for – and I don’t think you could get two girls that live and breathe that more than Sharni and CBass (Bassett).

“They’re an amazing example for girls to follow. They’re great role models and they do have an impact and influence in the team. That’s ultimately what really matters and is important.”

Pictures courtesy of Scott Davis/SMP Images