2021/2022 Diamonds and Ferns: Ins and Outs
BOTH the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns squads have been announced with a couple of notable outs and surprise inclusions. We delve into both nations’ rosters and discuss the choices.
There are two new faces set to join the green and gold with Sunday Aryang and Amy Parmenter getting the call-up to the Diamonds squad. After putting in a stellar effort with the Fever throughout the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season Aryang was elevated to the squad with the 19-year-old showcasing her wares in all three defensive positions. Parmenter has been close the past couple of international campaigns but the wing defence finally cracked the squad this season thanks to her impressive work rate, defensive nous and overall netball IQ.
Although she was named in the last international tournament, Gretel Bueta did not play but this time around the goal attack is raring to go as shown throughout her season with the Firebirds in the SSN. Speaking of returns fan favourite Ash Brazill is set to pull on the Diamonds dress once again with the athletic midcourter fully recovered from her knee injury and more than capable of swinging between wing defence and centre within a blink of an eye. Another returnee is Maddy Turner with the Swifts goal defence likely to team up with partner in crime Sarah Klau.
After returning from giving birth Kim Ravaillion well and truly hit her straps in season 2021 for the Queensland Firebirds and was a notable omission from the Diamonds squad. A key cog through the centre and boasting plenty of international experience it is fair to say her omission set many tongues wagging. Her exclusion was not the only one that drew attention with Kelsey Browne also not making the Diamonds squad after putting together a solid season with the Magpies after returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Named last season in the squad and shaping to be one of the more experienced heads in the young group, Gabi Simpson was also left off the Diamonds list for the 2021/2022 side.
The Ferns have a completely different looking frontend for the upcoming international series with three new fresh faces included in the squad. After a dominant performance with the Northern Stars throughout the ANZ Premiership season, it is no surprise that Jamie Hume got the nod set to join partner in crime Maia Wilson. But Wilson’s spot could be up for grabs given her recent form and the dominance of fellow newcomer Grace Nweke with the goal shooter proving to be a commanding force under the post. Nweke has grown with confidence throughout the domestic season and will be hoping to bring that form into the international environment. With Nweke comes Peta Toeava who has been recalled to the black dress after a couple of years away from international selection. The wing attack has been in scintillating form with her speed off the mark and vision just about unstoppable.
Also set to get their first international caps if they step out on court are Under 21s stars and Southern Steel teammates Tiana Metuarau and Kate Heffernan. The pair have developed their craft at a rate of knots throughout the year with Metuarau relishing her extra court time and perfecting the balance of playmaking and shooting while Heffernan can run all day and is not afraid to throw her body on the line to win ball back.
Although she did not completely miss the boat, named in the Development squad it was a surprise to not see speedster Kimiora Poi get the nod in the official Ferns squad. She was a key cog in the last Constellation Cup series and continue that form throughout her time with the Tactix this season. Another surprise omission was Bailey Mes who despite playing the ANZ Premiership season was sidelined for international duties touting her knee rehab as priority. Although stalwart and captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio has been named she will be missing from action, out on maternity leave.
Photo credit: Collingwood Magpies