So the first official stamp has been placed by Stacey Marinkovich as head coach of the Australian netball Diamonds team.
The Australian Diamonds are preparing for the international season to be fiercer than ever. They will be expecting the toughest Quad Series they’ve experienced along with the annual Constellation Cup against the Silver Ferns.
This year’s Quad Series will feature an English lineup wanting to backup their gold medal performance at April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, along with the Silver Ferns not wanting anyone to write them off after a disastrous Commonwealth Games. The Silver Ferns lost games to underdogs Malawi, gold medalists England, Australia and Jamaica to miss out on medaling all together.
England is on the rise in netball and with a home World Cup to be hosted in Liverpool next year, they will be hoping to prepare early with a maiden Quad Series title.
Other teams that will provide fierce competition to the Diamonds include Malawi who have come in leaps and bounds over the past few years. They’ve been helped by stars like Mwayi Kumwenda playing in top leagues like the Suncorp Super Netball in Australia.
It is no doubt that having players play in the stronger leagues like Suncorp Super Netball and the ANZ Premiership in New Zealand will have a big impact on helping weaker teams match it with Australia and New Zealand.
It could be argued that New Zealand have fallen in the netball ranks due to only allowing players playing in New Zealand to be eligible for international selection, a decision which has now been overturned to allow Maria Folau to play in Australia next year along with Laura Langman who has returned to the Sunshine Coast Lightning for the 2019 Super Netball season.
Australia needs to be on their game if they are to back up January’s Quad Series title and hope an upset like April’s Commonwealth Games does not repeat itself before next year’s World Cup.