Bulley keen to impress in Constellation Cup

Australia Diamonds and the Malawi QueensGame 2

Highly-rated defender Rebecca Bulley is determined to use the upcoming Real Insurance Netball Test Series to show Australian coach Lisa Alexander she still has plenty to offer ahead of next year’s Netball World Cup.

Bulley has been recalled to the Diamonds squad for three Tests of the upcoming Constellation Cup series against New Zealand, which kicks off in Invercargill on 2 October.

Having missed Australia’s triumphant Commonwealth Games campaign in Glasgow, Bulley is excited to be back in the team and eager to add to her tally of 37 Tests.

The retirement of Bianca Chatfield from international netball has opened the door for the 32-year-old Bulley to return to the green and gold and she said her three Tests against the Silver Ferns at Invercargill, Melbourne (8 October) and Sydney (11 October) was a great opportunity.

“I’m still trying to work on my game; even at my age there are still areas that I need to improve on, so hopefully I get a chance to get out on court and show what I can do and play with pride,” Bulley said.

“Regardless of whether I’m on the court or not I just want to do my job and support the team and hopefully be ready if I do get an opportunity that I can take it and play well.

“It’s a big year next year with the Netball World Cup (in Sydney). I would love to be in that team but it’s going to take a lot of hard work and, really, it comes down to playing well for your (ANZ Championship) club.

Bulley was one of the four training partners who travelled with the Diamonds to Manchester for their pre-Commonwealth Games training camp before the team headed to Glasgow.

“I was really happy that they won the gold medal but a part of me was sad that I wasn’t there winning that with them,” Bulley said.

_MCA4103LiAlexander said Bulley remained very much an integral part of the Diamonds squad.

“She is our next defender in, that’s where we ranked her as a selection committee so she thoroughly deserves this elevation,” Alexander said.

“She’s probably disappointed in one regard because she’s not getting all six Tests. She understands this is her opportunity to show what she can do in the (first) three Tests and she is on standby if we do get an injury (to a defender).”

Alexander said Bulley’s role – and that of the other training partners – was crucial to Australia’s gold medal triumph.

“Bec is all about the team and is of great character and I respect her enormously for what she did for us,” Alexander said.

“As I said to all our training partners, they were a part of that gold medal; they helped us achieve that result because, without them and having that terrific environment for us to train in, I don’t think we would have achieved anything near what we did.”

This Saturday Bulley is celebrating the sixth anniversary of her Test debut, which came against New Zealand in Auckland.

Bulley will also have a new home in the ANZ Championship next season having switched from the Adelaide Thunderbirds to the Queensland Firebirds. Her first appearance for her new club will also be her 100th match in the competition.

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to go up and experience Brisbane. I’ve kind of got around the country a bit,” Bulley quipped.

“Hopefully it will be another enjoyable year and Rose (Roselee Jencke) is a fabulous coach and the girls seem like a lovely team, so really looking forward to it.”

Constellation Cup Game 5Australia Diamonds v New Zealand Silver FernsThe Diamonds have been in Canberra this week at a training camp to prepare for the upcoming four Test Constellation Cup series against the Silver Ferns, which will be followed by two Tests against an in-form England.

The Diamonds hold the Constellation Cup, having won the 2013 series 4-1, and Bulley expects the Silver Ferns to come out strongly in the latest installment of world netball’s fiercest rivalry.

“After the Comm Games gold medal match, there’s no doubt that New Zealand are going to come out firing,” Bulley said.

“They’ve got something to prove – it’s not just the Constellation Cup that’s at stake, there’s also a bit of pride as well.

“It’s great to play in Australia so let’s get everyone out in their green and gold and cheering us on and hopefully we get another win over them.”

Tickets are still available to this year’s Real Insurance Netball Test Series in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra. Click here for more information.