Netball Australia has this morning announced a new initiative with an eye on the future, earmarking the best upcoming playing and coaching talent who they deem to be potential future Australian Diamonds.
Seven members of the NSW netball family, including NSW Swifts teammates Abbey McCulloch and Stephanie Wood, have been selected as part of a 21-strong group of invitees to the ‘Future Diamonds Focus’ camp which will be held at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence from 22-24 September.
Joining McCulloch and Wood are current Diamonds’ squad members Ashleigh Brazill, April Letton, Kristiana Manu’a, and Gabi Simpson, as well as Grafton product Verity Simmons.
The three-day camp will see the invitees train under the watchful eye of Diamonds Head Coach Lisa Alexander, who will be joined by a group of Specialist Coaches including Swifts Assistant Coach Megan Anderson and former Swift and NSW legend Mo’onia Gerrard.
The camp has been developed with not only an eye on the Diamonds’ next 12 months but also on identifying potential talent who will assist the team to defend its titles at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
“These athletes are going to get a really good taste of what we expect at the Diamonds level,” Alexander said.
“It is going to be very positive and enable them all to understand exactly what’s required in the Diamonds performance environment. We’re getting these athletes prepared so they could step up into a Diamonds Test team if needed.
“We’re also broadening our base by bringing along the generation underneath the actual team, keeping them up-to-date with specific Diamonds tactics and strategies and the actual technical work we’ve been doing with the team.“
All with international playing and/or coaching experience, the specialist coaches and targeted coaches include Centre of Excellence residential coach Jill McIntosh and Nicole Richardson, who will work with the centre court; the defenders will be under the guidance of Jane Searle and Gerrard; while Jenny Borlase and Anderson will take charge of the shooters.
“This is absolutely world-class, top-quality coaching expertise,” Alexander said of the panel assisting her at the camp.
“Megan, Nicole and Mo’onia are all working hard on their coaching pathway skills and we are encouraging that and are keen to get their input, knowledge and expertise into this group.”
Future Diamonds Focus Invitees
Ashleigh Brazill (NSW/West Coast Fever)
Courtney Bruce (WA/West Coast Fever)
Beryl Friday (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
April Letton (NSW/West Coast Fever)
Kristina Manu’a (NSW/WBOP Magic)
Cody Lange (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Chelsea Lemke (SA/QLD Firebirds)
Abbey McCulloch (NSW/NSW Swifts)
Clare McMeniman (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Kate Moloney (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)
Caitlyn Nevins (VIC/Queensland Firebirds)
Madeleine Proud (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Verity Simmons (NSW/West Coast Fever)
Gabi Simpson (NSW/Queensland Firebirds)
Kaylia Stanton (WA/West Coast Fever)
Amy Steel (VIC/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Gretel Tippett (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Liz Watson (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)
Khao Watts (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Jo Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)
Stephanie Wood (QLD/NSW Swifts)
HEAD COACH: Lisa Alexander
SPECIALIST COACHES: Megan Anderson (shooting), Jenny Borlase (shooting), Mo’onia Gerrard (defence), Jill McIntosh (midcourt), Nicole Richardson (midcourt), Jane Searle (defence).