Quad Series: All Teams out to Prove a Point
- September 14th, 2018
- Jaime Bracewell
In the nine months since the last Quad Series, International netball has been turned on its head. The Commonwealth Games caused a huge stir with England seriously upsetting the Australia-New Zealand applecart. A dramatic one-goal victory for the Roses over Australia in the final, coupled with The Silver Ferns not making the podium and finishing just one place above South Africa, made for a tournament full of surprises. As a true Kiwi, my black heart bleeds to see New Zealand knocked off the top; yet with a medals table usually dominated by the Oceanic nations being blown apart, it can only be a fantastic thing for netball's profile and it makes for an exciting future within the game.
New Zealand Silver Ferns
After the Commonwealth Games upset, New Zealand Netballs governing body has had to go back on the decree that any New Zealander who plays in the Australian League is ineligible for the Silver Ferns. This has seen Laura Langman return to the side and take on the role of Silver Ferns captain for the Quad Series, as voted for by the players themselves. There has also been a new coaching appointment with Noeline Taurua now at the helm who comes to the position with great credentials. The Silver Ferns will be using the tournament as a gauge as to how much improvement has been made since the Commonwealth Games with the ultimate goal being the World Cup next year.
England will be looking to prove that their Commonwealth Games victory was not a one-off, instead reinforcing their statement that the era of the two Pacific Powerhouses is over. The Roses squad is largely made up of the historic gold medal side, with the exception of a few including the recall of Sacha Corbin who missed out on selection for the Gold Coast. The former England captain will strengthen the midcourt options for the Roses as she returns to the team alongside sister Kadeen.
Australia will be looking for revenge after dominating at the Commonwealth Games, only to stumble at the final hurdle with a narrow defeat to England. No doubt the pain of the defeat will still be very present for the Diamonds as they go out to regain bragging rights over their old foes. With a host of players vying for a position in the starting 7 looking forward to the 2019 World Cup, perhaps the toughest challenge faces coach Lisa Alexander as a battle within a battle simmers amongst the Diamonds set-up.
South African Proteas
South Africa will be looking to re-establish themselves as genuine contenders among the world's top 4 nations. The Proteas had a promising start to the year with a tight four goal defeat to Australia in the Quad series earlier this year. Coupled with only losing by five, to New Zealand and England, there were a lot of positives to be taken from the series. However, this momentum did not carry over to the Commonwealth Games where they were unable to remain amongst the top 4, finishing in 5th place. Individual South African players have had successful seasons in the netball leagues across New Zealand, Australia and England, therefore if Australian coach, Norma Plummer can make this individual talent a cohesive unit, there could just be a minor shock on the cards.
With the 2019 World Cup just around the corner, the Quad series is not just about setting records straight off the back of the Commonwealth Games, it is an opportunity for sides to look ahead towards Liverpool 2019 and get players on court and test combinations against the best.