Is there a new netball world order?? Or perhaps soon to be….?
Before today’s opening Quad Series opening game between the Australian Diamonds and the English Roses I thought it would be a tight tussle and an entertaining game. Last time these two teams met the Diamonds only triumphed by one. Since then we’ve seen many of the Roses play and excel in the Suncorp Super League. Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie had standout seasons with the Giants, as did Geva Mentor with the Lightning. Shooter Hannah Housby came of age starting with the Swifts. Unfortunately Harten withdrawing from today’s Test game for “precautionary measures” (side note – that left us wanting more information though please??) was a huge blow and probably made the difference in the end. The Roses fought to the end though to only go down by 4.
I have been wondering whether Netball NZ’s decision to not select any Kiwi players (aka Laura Langman) who chose to play in the Suncorp Super Netball League instead of the NZ Domestic comp would effect them. The unlimited import rule has seen more international players like the aforementioned Roses and the likes of Erin Burger from South Africa (who played for the Firebirds this season) get better and better by playing in the world’s best domestic comp. A scattering of other less high profile international players have in turn played in the NZ league against the Silver Fern players every week.
I get the feeling all of this has lessened the gap between the top teams in the world – England have closed the gap on the Aussie and Kiwis while the Proteas pushed the Kiwis for the majority of their Test today going into the half time break only one goal down. With a relatively inexperienced Diamonds team building towards the Comm Games and a Silver Ferns team no longer exposed to the best domestic comp in the world I think we will see some upsets come Comm Games time next year and perhaps a new netball world order…..