Commonwealth Games, team announced, Catherine Cox, Donnell Wallam, Kim Ravaillion, Maddy Proud

Stacey Marinkovich and the Australian Diamonds coaches opted to stay with the 15 players who got the job done in this year’s Quad series, while adding three youngsters ready to step onto the international stage.

In light of Covid, the Australian Diamonds have only played two international series since the start of the pandemic – the Quad Series last January and the shock Constellation Cup loss to New Zealand in 2021.

So the decision to take the same 15 players, and Amy Parmenter, Keira Austin and Donnell Wallam, from the winning Quad series in Birmingham was a safe decision.

The Commonwealth Games are just over three months away – and our netballers won’t get the chance to play together as a team before heading overseas.

With what is happening in the world, a simple approach was needed.

I love the Diamonds shooting circle in England because it’s emotional; we no longer have a waiting gunner.

Australian Diamonds netball coach Stacey Marinkovich (centre) with Australian team members Donnell Wallam and Gretel Bueta. Photo: Richard WalkerSource: News Corp Australia

I think the beauty of the players is that they have to be very flexible and play in multiple positions now, with only 10 players at the club.

It doesn’t matter who you put there and in what position.

I was surprised by the selection of Firebirds rookie Donnell Wallam. I didn’t realize she had been there a long time, she just hadn’t played in Australia.

She was certainly on the radar for a long time and while I still think she’s a bit raw at this level, there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll play for Australia one day.

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The player that really excites me is Gretel Bueta – to think that she is playing the best netball of her life after having a child and coming back is just extraordinary.

I’m very interested in all of this, why they took some players and why they didn’t take others. Why not take Kim Ravaillion, why not take Maddy Proud?

But I think they’ve picked an 18-man squad that they think will be the most versatile.

And while it might seem a little light on the defense side, the wing defense specialists are included in the midfield, so there’s plenty of cover.

Australian Diamonds and Firebirds players Gretel Bueta and Donnell Wallam. Photo: Richard WalkerSource: News Corp Australia

Liz Watson’s return is important for the Diamonds – look at the difference for the Melbourne Vixens from last year to this year as they got her back.

It’s pretty amazing to think that she can make the difference between coming in last and coming in first.

She is very cool, very calm, leads by example. She just asks for the yard when she’s on it.

You know where you are supposed to go. You can see that she brings that confidence to everyone.

Only four players remain in the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver-medal campaign 18: Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Steph Wood and Courtney Bruce.

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And although there are only six players at the Commonwealth Games with over 30 international caps, I think what they have is the best for the job.

It’s full of players who I think can play different roles.

I also think they are a very positive team, and I think we are in a very good position for a gold medal.

FULL TEAM

Sunday Aryang, Kiera Austin, Ash Brazill, Courtney Bruce, Gretel Bueta, Sophie Dwyer, Sophie Garbin, Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Cara Koenen, Kate Moloney, Amy Parmenter, Jamie-Lee Price, Maddy Turner, Donnell Wallam, Liz Watson ( c), Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood (vc)

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