Versatility is key

How do you approach a tournament-style competition?

According to Australian Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander, it is all about the versatility of your athletes.

Earlier this month, Commonwealth Games Australia and Netball Australia named 12 athletes in the Diamonds 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games team, who have demonstrated their ability to adapt to different situations and positions on court?

The Diamonds will play seven games of high-intensity netball in eleven days during the Commonwealth Games, facing teams with different styles of play.

At the announcement, Alexander explained, “what made the decision that much more complex is that we’ve also had to consider the ‘what ifs’ that you must be prepared for in a tournament. We needed to ensure that we had flexibility within the team, through different combinations and the ability for athletes to play multiple positions if required,” she said.

During training camps, players are put in multiple positions, to be more adaptable to various combinations.

“We make a point of that in the training environment,” said Alexander. “We ensure our athletes have had training time in those different positions, and that they are across it from a performance analysis point of view. We have spent a lot of time in the last two years on this.

“We are happy with the overall balance and versatility of the group,” she said.

The centre court consists of: Kim Ravaillion (C, WD, WA), Liz Watson (WA, C), Madi Robinson (WA, C) and Gabi Simpson (WD, C). Further support in wing defence will be expected of April Brandley and Jo Weston, to complement the centre court.

The defenders are: April Brandley (GD, WD, GK), Courtney Bruce (GK, GD), Laura Geitz (GK, GD) and Jo Weston (GD, WD, GK). Courtney Bruce will quickly interchange between goal keeper and goal defence if required.

In the goaling end: Caitlin Bassett (GS), Susan Pettitt (GA, GS, WA), Caitlin Thwaites (GS, GA) and Stephanie Wood (GA, GS, WA). Both goal attacks provide the Diamonds with the ability to change it up and complement the two goal shooters. They also have the ability to move into wing attack, should the coaches be looking for something different.

Expect to see your favourite Diamonds wearing more than one bib during the Commonwealth Games.

Australia opens its 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games campaign against Northern Ireland on Thursday 5 April before its remaining pool matches against Barbados (6 April), South Africa (8 April), Fiji (9 April) and Jamaica (11 April).