2023 Netball World Cup preview: Australia
THE 2023 Netball World Cup is almost here, and to help count down to the tournament we here at Rookie Me Central will be previewing all the competing teams and seeing how they might fair at the tournament.
Today’s preview is all about the reigning Commonwealth Games champions Australia.
HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA AT THE NETBALL WORLD CUP
The Diamonds only need this Netball World Cup to add to their cabinet as it is the only silverware missing – the last time the Diamonds cabinet was full of accolades was in 2016. They ended up runners up in the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, falling short of one-goal to the current gold medallists New Zealand, ending a 14 year drought 52-51. Australia looks to make this year’s World Cup in Cape Town their 12th with its last won in 2015 in Sydney featuring current Diamond Paige Hadley.
The Diamonds continued their Quad Series reign winning all four games with impressive wins over New Zealand, England and South Africa in January. A point of struggle was their first quarters being overrun and having to fight back and play catch up. Their third quarter is their best in winning by significant margins in that term in particular either extending their lead or giving them the space to assert their dominance and make the game their own.
Steph Wood is the playmaker for the Diamonds so when she is on the whole side is on. When she is shaken, the next go to goal attack is Kiera Austin who has not played with the other two shooters much whereas Wood has played with Cara Koenen for a numerous amount of years and already at the Sunshine Coast Lightning has that unstoppable connection. Wood can pace the game to either ramp up the speed or give everyone a moment to stop and think with her movements inside the circle and directing traffic outside.
Liz Watson is the go to ball carer taking majority of the feeders no matter what team she is on. Without partner in crime Kate Moloney in the initial squad, this tournament is really going to test whether she can function without Moloney in centre as she is working with two centres she has not played much time with. Having played a lot of her domestic minutes in centre this season (last time she was the starting centre was in 2016), the question is whether or not her wing attack game is up to Watson standard of what it was previously with defenders now finding a way in shutting her down.
The tagging and shut down ability of Jo Weston is what went missing for the Diamonds in the Constellation Cup against New Zealand last year and her combination with go to ball winner Courtney Bruce is how Australia will assert its dominance in a game. When Weston can shut down a player, it will force a long ball down court and give Bruce the opportunity to go out for a play or force a turnover. Bruce was also the defender of the tournament in the January Quad Series.
The Diamonds feature five World Cup debutants with two changes from their successful Commonwealth Games squad.
AUSTRALIA FIXTURE (start times local)
Friday 28th July – 11am – Zimbabwe
Saturday 29th July – 11am – Tonga
Sunday 30th July – 9am – Fiji
Sunday Aryang, Kiera Austin, Ash Brazill, Courtney Bruce, Sophie Garbin, Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Cara Koenen, Jamie-Lee Price, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Steph Wood,
Reserves: Ruby Bakewell-Doran, Kate Moloney and Donnell Wallam