If the netball world thinks that England’s Commonwealth Games success was a flash in the pan, we could all be in for a rude shock.
Roses star Helen Housby has fired a warning shot across Australia, New Zealand and South Africa’s bows ahead of the upcoming Quad Series, declaring she wants her country’s breakthrough international success on the Gold Coast to be the start of a long period of domination for the rising netball nation.
England stunned the Samsung Diamonds in the gold medal decider in April, sinking a goal in the final seconds to steal an unforgettable victory and signify a potential changing of the guard at the top of the sport.
Now the challenge before them is to maintain the rage and build on their momentum in their first international outings since that watershed win.
And Housby says they can do it.
“We don’t want the Comm Games to be just a one-off situation,” the 23-year-old says.
“You know, I want to win everything that there is possible to win. And I think we have changed the mindset of people who look at England netball, and even the players that are involved in England netball. We know that we can deliver in that moment now.”
Key to that confidence as the Quad Series approaches is the reselection of 10 of the 12 players from the winning Commonwealth Games team.
Housby will be joined in the circle by fellow Suncorp Super Netball goaler Jo Harten, while back-to-back Sunshine Coast Lightning premiership defender Geva Mentor heads a strong list of experienced players that includes midcourters Serena Guthrie, Chelsea Pitman and Jade Clarke.
Having finally broken Australia and New Zealand’s stranglehold on international tournaments, Housby says the complexion of the entire Quad Series has changed.
“In years gone by we’ve been close. And we’ve had the athletes who could deliver, but we just never put it together in a big tournament,” she says.
“And now we have and I think we’ve not got to be scared about anything, and just go into it wholeheartedly and with a lot of energy and the belief that we can do anything we put our minds to.”
Housby says she noticed a tangible difference in the way England’s players were perceived in Australia once they arrived for the Suncorp Super Netball season.
“The whole of world netball, I think, was kind of shook a little bit,” she says.
“And not just about the gold medal match. New Zealand were beaten by Jamaica for the bronze, so there were a lot of changes going on in the netball world.
“It’s always nice to obviously go into a league on a high and with confidence. And I know that the rest of the English girls who were out here felt that as well.”
England kicks off its Quad Series campaign against the Silver Ferns in Auckland on September 15, before taking on the Samsung Diamonds in Newcastle on September 19 and South Africa in Melbourne on September 23.