Clare McMeniman has witnessed first-hand the future of Australian netball and the experienced defender likes what she sees.
McMeniman was part of the recent `Future Diamonds Focus’ camp at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence in Canberra and is excited by the depth of talent in the next generation of athletes that she predicts will ensure Australia remains the number one netball nation in the world.
Five of the camp attendees – Ashleigh Brazill, April Letton, Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett and Jo Weston – will join McMeniman in the Diamonds squad for the upcoming Constellation Cup Series against New Zealand.
The four-Test series begins in Christchurch on Tuesday, 20 October.
“Those girls are incredibly talented and wonderful human beings who are excited about playing netball and absolutely ecstatic about this opportunity,” McMeniman said.
“When we’ve got athletes as talented as they are and putting out the performances they have been in the ANZ Championship now, it’s exciting to think what can happen with further development over the next few years.
“The team that Australia will potentially put together for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast will be dynamic and strong and exciting. That’s in our defensive end alone – so I can only imagine what the rest of that team will look like.”
The retirements of Rebecca Bulley and Julie Corletto has opened opportunities for McMeniman – along with Letton and Weston – to show what they’ve got to offer at international level.
“I was really disappointed to miss out on a place in Netball World Cup team but I felt privileged to be given an opportunity to be part of their preparations at the training camp,” McMeniman said.
“Playing that test match last year was amazing. I loved being part of that Diamonds’ environment and I feel so lucky to be given the opportunity to do it again and play a series against New Zealand.
“I yearn for the opportunity to sing the national anthem in a Test Series against New Zealand on Aussie soil.”
McMeniman, Tippett and Simpson were part of the record-breaking crowd that watched the Diamonds defeat the Silver Ferns to win the final of the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 and said the atmosphere inside Allphones Arena was incredible.
“The excitement that came from the victory and the inspirational effort by that group makes you want to represent your country even more to get the chance to experience something like that,” McMeniman said.
“You can’t replicate that energy the crowd gives to the players.”
The Diamonds’ Constellation Cup squad will gather in Melbourne for a three-day training camp next week, where the 12 heading to New Zealand for the first two Tests of the series will be named.
“I’m really looking forward to being among the girls again. It feels like it’s been such a long time that I left them in Newcastle,” McMeniman said.
Limited tickets are still available to purchase for the Test matches in Melbourne (25 October) and Perth (30 October). To purchase, visit Ticketek’s website, phone 132 849 or any Ticketek outlet.
The 2015 Constellation Cup will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and the Netball Live app.