Diamonds netball squad for Commonwealth Games: Giants and Thunderbirds snubbed

Stacey Marinkovich played it safe in her Commonwealth Games selection but is it the right mix of talent? Check out who is on the plane to Birmingham and who missed out.

Diamonds selectors have opted for a tried and tested combination for the Commonwealth Games, with Vixens shooter Keira Austin the only player from outside the successful Quad Series campaign to have forced her way into the Birmingham squad.

Australia’s 12-player squad for the Commonwealth Games is set to be officially announced in Melbourne on Tuesday but News Corp can reveal Stacey Marinkovich’s side that will head to the UK as the world no.1 and competition favourites.

Rookie bolters Donnell Wallam and Ruby Bakewell-Doran have just missed selection and will travel with the team as reserves.

Watch every game of Suncorp Super Netball Finals LIVE & FREE with Kayo Freebies. Starts Saturday 18th June 7PM AEST. Join Kayo Freebies now, no credit card required >

There are few surprises in the Games team with the likes of captain Liz Watson, world’s best goal attack Gretel Bueta, outstanding defenders Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau and Jo Weston and vice-captain Steph Wood choosing themselves.

Locking in the final positions in the 12 would have been difficult for Marinkovich and fellow selectors Anne Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins though.

Kate Moloney is understood to have won the final midcourt position ahead of Giants centre/wing defence Jamie-Lee Price, with Price set to be the travelling midcourt reserve.

Diamonds netball coach Stacey Marinkovich. Picture: Richard Walker
Diamonds netball coach Stacey Marinkovich. Picture: Richard Walker

Ash Brazill faced pressure as starting wing defence from young gun Amy Parmenter but her steady season and outstanding Quad Series performance has seen her lock in a Games spot.

Cross code star Brazill, who skipped the AFLW season this year to focus on her Commonwealth Games aspirations, was also selected – despite currently being ill with Covid-19.

Former Diamond and Fox Netball commentator Caitlin Thwaites said Brazill had been a standout all season.

“She does a great job at what she does – the shutdown role, the getting the ball role,” she said.

SEE THE DIAMONDS FULL COMMONWEALTH GAMES SQUAD BELOW

Despite being added to the squad just a fortnight ago and notching a Super Netball feeding record on Sunday, Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud has also missed selection, demonstrating the depth in Australia’s midcourt.

Former Diamonds midcourter Madison Browne told Fox Netball: “It was stacked, wasn’t it, that midcourt. They could have had any player, really, in there”.

“They’ve gone for some newbies, some experience,” Browne said.

“It’s really interesting to see... some of them are in form and some of them have been struggling in the last few weeks.”

Sunshine Coast goaler Cara Koenen’s late-season form has seen her hold out Wallam to retain her spot in the side.

Vixens shooter Kiera Austin has made a stunning recovery from a knee reconstruction to return to the Diamonds squad 18 months after setting the scene the alight on debut at the Constellation Cup.

Giants young gun Sophie Dwyer came into the squad for the Quad Series when Austin was injured but did not make her debut in London earlier this year.

Wallam is understood to be a travelling reserve.

Bakewell-Doran put enormous pressure on another recent debutant, Sunday Aryang after being added to the squad a fortnight ago but the West Australian has retained her place .

It means every player in the Aussie squad has made their Diamonds debut, even if some, like Aryang (2), Austin (4) and Koenen (7), only have a few caps.

The travelling reserves could yet play a part if the team suffers a Covid outbreak ahead of the opening day of competition, with officials able to slot players into the team up until that time.

Giants young gun Sophie Dwyer missed selection. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty
Giants young gun Sophie Dwyer missed selection. Picture: Jason McCawley/Getty

It’s understood the Diamonds that missed out though will get the opportunity to play in the gold dress soon though, with several internationals planned for later in the year.

Another Constellation Cup and possibly a Quad Series are on the cards, with Australia set to host international netball for the first time since 2019.

Wallam, Bakewell-Doran, Proud, Dwyer and Parmenter are all likely to get their chance to wear the gold dress in those internationals as new blood is introduced ahead of next year’s World Cup.

But with only two international competitions in the past three years, Marinkovich has opted for a tried and tested line-up for Birmingham - not only players who have won the gold dress before but those who have been in camp with the Diamonds over the past 18 months and have already been part of the culture and combinations they are looking to build ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

LIKES

The closest season in Super Netball history has provided an incredible ride for players and fans alike.

Only the harshest fan could have complained about a season in which every club was still in contention for the top four until the second-last week of the fixture season and four sides were vying for one spot in the playoffs in the final week.

Despite battling Covid, injuries, the flu and a couple of condensed rounds, this was an epic season, with the finals promising plenty.

Ingles takes fans back to the future

We wrote in this column earlier in the year that Renae Ingles would be a player in demand if Covid hit teams after she returned to the Victorian Netball League.

It seems officials had her number on speed dial after the call came from the Magpies just days after she made her VNL debut for Casey Demons following her return home with basketball superstar husband Joe and children.

To see her injected into the game to go head-to-head with former Vixens and Diamonds teammate Liz Watson was a dream for netball fans.

Renae Ingles made an incredible Super Netball comeback. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty
Renae Ingles made an incredible Super Netball comeback. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty

It took little time for the 35-year-old to show she’s lost none of the game smarts that led to her playing 67 tests for Australia - with a bullet feed to Magpies shooter Shimona Nelson in the third quarter signalling she was back.

It must have been strange for former Vixens premiership winner Ingles to be in the black and white and helping the Pies into the finals.

Should the Magpies be further affected by Covid or not have players recover in time, Ingles will likely be retained in the squad to face the Giants in this weekend’s minor semi-final in a whirlwind return to the game.

DISLIKE

Covid. Two-and-a-half years after the start of the pandemic, who would have thought Covid would still be playing such a big part in the competition.

The Magpies defied the odds to make the finals despite having their coach and three players ruled out of Monday’s match under Covid protocols.

And with the league’s protocols taking in flu-like symptoms as well - given they’re often also Covid symptoms - the finals could yet be impacted.

Advice from the league says: “any player, staff or official who is experiencing COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms (a fever, cough and/or sneezing) but tests negative to COVID-19 must not participate in a match or training session to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other non-Covid illnesses”.

The Magpies were victims of the ‘Covid’ rules.. Pictured is Geva Mentor. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty
The Magpies were victims of the ‘Covid’ rules.. Pictured is Geva Mentor. Picture: Kelly Defina/Getty

The league also clarified rules surrounding players that can be drafted into sides for the finals.

Teams can apply to select a “nominated athlete” from one of the four teams not qualified for the finals series.

This is the same list that applied during the season and not full-time contracted players from any of the clubs - for example - the Magpies could not draft Shamera Sterling into their side if Geva Mentor was ruled out.

Teams must first exhaust their own list of contracted and nominated athletes and training partners dependent on position, before applying to select another club’s nominated athlete.

If selected, nominated athletes can only play for one team during the 2022 finals series and cannot play against their own team.

So Chelsea Pitman will be unable to play against the Fever, for example, while Renae Ingles can continue to play for the Magpies if needed but cannot play for another club if Collingwood is knocked out.

Player of the week

Jo Harten (Giants)

When the pressure’s on Harten stands up and that’s what the English international did on Saturday, despite the Giants already having sealed their spot in the finals. Harten finished with 45-of-49 attempts, including a super shot and stood tall as the Lightning made a final push, helping the Giants seal a home final.

Giants v Lightning

Jo Harten (Giants) 3, Maddie Hay (Giants) 2, Laura Scherian (Lightning) 1

Fever v Thunderbirds

Sasha Glasgow (Fever) 3, Shamera Sterling (T’birds) 2, Courtney Bruce (Fever) 1

Swifts v Firebirds

Maddy Proud (Swifts) 3, Gretel Bueta (Firebirds) 2, Paige Hadley (Swifts) 1

Magpies v Vixens

Liz Watson (Vixens) 3, Kelsey Browne (Magpies) 2, Kate Moloney (Vixens) 1

Revealed: Diamonds Comm Games team

Diamonds selectors have opted for a tried and tested combination for the Commonwealth Games, with Vixens shooter Kiera Austin the only player able to force her way into the Birmingham squad that didn’t play at the successful Quad Series campaign earlier this year.

Australia’s 12-player squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is set to be officially announced in Melbourne on Tuesday but News Corp can reveal Stacey Marinkovoch’s side that will head to the UK as the No.1 and competition favourites.

Rookie bolters Donnell Wallam and Ruby Bakewell-Doran of the Firebirds have just missed selection and will travel with the team as reserves.

There are few surprises in the Games team with the likes of captain Liz Watson, world’s best goal attack Gretel Bueta, outstanding defenders Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau and Jo Weston and vice-captain Steph Wood choosing themselves.

Locking in the final positions in the 12 would have been difficult for Marinkovich and fellow selectors Anne Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins though.

Gretel Bueta - the best goaler in the world - is on the plane.
Gretel Bueta - the best goaler in the world - is on the plane.

Kate Moloney is understood to have won the final midcourt position ahead of Giants centre/wing defence Jamie-Lee Price, with Price set to be the travelling midcourt reserve.

Ash Brazill faced pressure as starting wing defence from young gun Amy Parmenter but her steady season and outstanding Quad Series performance has seen her lock in a Games spot.

Despite being added to the squad just a fortnight ago and notching a Super Netball feeding record on Sunday, Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud has also missed selection, demonstrating the depth in Australia’s midcourt.

Sunshine Coast goaler Cara Koenen’s late-season form has seen her hold out Wallam to retain her spot in the side.

Austin has made a stunning recovery from a knee reconstruction to return to the Diamonds squad 18 months after setting the scene the alight on debut at the Constellation Cup.

Giants young gun Sophie Dwyer came into the squad for the Quad Series when Austin was injured but did not make her debut in London earlier this year.

Wallam is understood to be a travelling reserve.

Bakewell-Doran put enormous pressure on another recent debutant, Sunday Aryang, after being added to the squad a fortnight ago but the West Australian has retained her place.

It means every player in the Aussie squad has made their Diamonds debut, even if some, like Aryang (two games), Austin (4) and Koenen (7), only have a few caps.

Maddy Turner and teammate Maddy turner missed out on selection.
Maddy Turner and teammate Maddy turner missed out on selection.

Minor premiers the Vixens dominate the squad with four players, while the Fever, Swifts and Lightning each had two players selected and the Magpies and Firebirds both had one player in the main team to Birmingham.

The Giants, last year’s grand finalists who finished third this season, and Adelaide’s Thunderbirds are the only two teams without a player in the 12-person playing squad for Birmingham.

The travelling reserves could yet play a part if the team suffers a Covid outbreak ahead of the opening day of competition, with officials able to slot players into the team up until that time.

It’s understood the Diamonds that missed out though will get the opportunity to play in the gold dress soon though, with several internationals planned for later in the year.

Sunday Aryang has retained her spot in the team.
Sunday Aryang has retained her spot in the team.

Another Constellation Cup and possibly a Quad Series are on the cards, with Australia set to host international netball for the first time since 2019.

Wallam, Bakewell-Doran, Proud, Dwyer and Parmenter are all likely to get their chance to wear the gold dress in those internationals as new blood is introduced ahead of next year’s World Cup.

But with only two international competitions in the past three years, Marinkovich has opted for a tried and tested line-up for Birmingham - not only players who have won the gold dress before but those who have been in camp with the Diamonds over the past 18 months and have already been part of the culture and combinations they are looking to build ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Originally published as Diamonds netball squad for Commonwealth Games: Giants and Thunderbirds snubbed

Add your comment to this story

To join the conversation, please Don't have an account? Register

Join the conversation, you are commenting as Logout