The phone calls which changed Watson’s life

Liz Watson crop
Liz Watson has received two life-changing phone calls in the past 18 months or so.

The first came from Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis on the eve of the 2014 ANZ Championship season asking the promising midcourter to join the squad as a replacement for Elissa Kent (nee Macleod).

Watson grasped the opportunity, quickly cementing herself in the Vixens’ starting seven and by the end of the season was celebrating a premiership triumph.

The most recent life-changing phone call came on Melbourne Cup eve from Australian coach Lisa Alexander telling Watson she had been chosen in the Diamonds’ team of 12 heading to England for a three-Test series in January.

The 21-year-old is the newcomer in the side and said she was initially shocked when told of her selection.

“I’m really excited to kick off my year playing with Australia,” Watson said.

“The team is doing so well at moment and it’s such a strong group to break into. Wearing the green and gold is something netballers dream of growing up and I know I certainly have.

“I didn’t expect it to happen at this stage of my career so I’m just excited to be part of the group and soak it all up.”

Watson admitted her early season form with the Vixens was “patchy” but was disappointed to be overlooked for Australia’s Netball World Cup and Constellation Cup campaign.

“Being part of the squad previously, I’ve had a taste of what it’s like at that next level. Missing teams has definitely motivated me and I’m just excited to be part of the group and soak it all up,” Watson said.

Alexander said selectors were pleased with the way she finished off the ANZ Championship season, her performances leading Australia’s 21/U side and then at the recent `Future Diamonds Focus’ camp in Canberra.

“She didn’t have the greatest start to the season but to bounce back and play the way that she did shows great mental toughness on Liz’s behalf,” Alexander said.

“It was no wonder she was named captain of the Australian 21/U team. She had a terrific series against senior competition and her performances at the Future Diamonds camp at the Centre of Excellence showed that she was ready to make that next step.

“The strength and power that Liz provides will fantastic for our midcourt – that’s what we were missing in the Constellation Cup series.

“No one is happier than me (that she’s been picked) because I know how hard she’s worked.”

Watson said she was thrilled to watch good friend and Vixens teammate Jo Weston make her international debut during the Constellation Cup.CJG024

“It was awesome to watch Jo and a few of the other girls make their debuts and see all their hard work pay off and that’s definitely motivated me,” Watson said.

“To get this call up to the Aussie team was a dream come true.”

The Diamonds will take on the Roses in a three-Test series at Liverpool’s Echo Arena (20 January) and then at London’s Copper Box Arena on 22 January and 24 January.

The Diamonds team for the England tour: Caitlin Bassett (West Coast Fever), Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts), Renae Ingles (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Sharni Layton (NSW Swifts), April Letton (West Coast Fever), Clare McMeniman (Queensland Firebirds), Natalie Medhurst (West Coast Fever), Gabi Simpson (Queensland Firebirds), Caitlin Thwaites (NSW Swifts), Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds), Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens), Jo Weston (Melbourne Vixens).
Training partners: Kristiana Manu’a (WBOP Magic), Stephanie Wood (NSW Swifts).