2022 Quad Series preview: Australia
A RESURGENCE of youth through the Australia Diamonds side has plenty of fresh faces joining experienced heads in the upcoming 2022 Quad Series. The Australians have not selected long-term shooter and former captain Caitlin Bassett, whilst the experience and leadership of Kim Ravaillion, Kelsey Browne and Gabi Simpson raised some eyebrows. Instead, new coach Stacey Marinkovich has brought in a flurry of youth and a couple of players coming off long layoffs for the international series.
Two key inclusions to the side are Gretel Bueta and Liz Watson who return after missing the 2021 year. Bueta gave birth to her first child, and Watson missed the entire Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) season through injury. Both will provide much needed stability to a starting seven that has not had much international experience of late due to the global pandemic. Unlike their three rivals, the Diamonds have not played in a couple of years, and will be keen to step out on court. Potential debutants in Sunday Aryang and Sophie Dwyer were named up either end, likely to learn off their experienced counterparts.
AUSTRALIA DIAMONDS 2022 QUAD SERIES SQUAD:
- Sunday Aryang
- Courtney Bruce
- Sarah Klau
- Maddy Turner
- Jo Weston
- Ash Brazill
- Paige Hadley
- Kate Moloney
- Jamie-Lee Price
- Liz Watson (C)
- Gretel Bueta
- Sophie Dwyer
- Sophie Garbin
- Cara Koenen
- Steph Wood (VC)
In terms of a starting seven, experienced duo Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston have earned the starts. The advantage Marinkovich has, is that the second circle defensive group in Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner have natural chemistry from their combination at the NSW Swifts. Aryang is the X-factor in the group and could play either role, whilst Weston could even slide into wing defence.
That is unlikely to be needed though with Ash Brazill missing the first month of the AFL Women’s competition with Collingwood to pull on the green and gold. A star wing defence, she can also move into centre if needed. Melbourne Vixens duo Kate Moloney and Watson are the easy choices for centre and wing attack respectively with Jamie-Lee Price and Paige Hadley the rotational options in there.
To the goal circle, and the two experienced players are Steph Wood and the returning Gretel Bueta. The latter may play as goal shooter to work back into the game after so much time off, but the Diamonds also have Cara Koenen who has long been touted as the Diamonds’ future goal shooter. With the rise of the Sophie’s – Dwyer and Sophie Garbin both have spent time in the goal attack role, though Garbin is naturally a goal shooter.
The biggest question for the Diamonds is the lack of international court time, and how they will go with a brand new coach. They have not had the same amount of international experience as the other nations, and a couple of key players are coming off long breaks. In saying that, the depth and talent at the Diamonds disposal is unbelievable, with a Diamonds second team likely to beat any nation outside the top few. For Marinkovich, the Quad Series should cement which players in her mind deserve a Commonwealth Games spot, and which players need a good SSN season to crack their way into the side.