Koenen Departs For New Zealand Quarantine

A 14-day quarantine period in the lead in to the Constellation Cup will be a challenge for Origin Australian Diamond athletes but Cara Koenen said it’s a small sacrifice to be able to play international netball.

Named in the official touring squad, the Sunshine Coast Lightning shooter is poised to make her Diamonds debut and excitement is beginning to build.

“I am so elated and really eager to get out on court and hopefully get the opportunity to pull on the green and gold,” Koenen said.

“I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself… debuting would be an absolute dream, anything on top of that would be icing on the cake.”

The touring squad and staff will be held in quarantine for the full 14-days, however allowances are expected to be made from day 5 onwards to allow players to train in pairs and small groups and use gym and court facilities.

Koenen said team management had been preparing the squad in recent weeks, ensuring that appropriate support is available.

Photo Credit: Narelle Spangher

“It’s going to be an interesting challenge for us as a group – most of us haven’t quarantined – but we’ve done a lot of groundwork on this side of the Tasman,” she said.

“Hopefully when we head over the two weeks in a hotel won’t be too difficult but I think everyone’s just excited to get over and play some netball.

“We were all really willing to make the sacrifice that needed to be made in order to get over and put up some good games against the Silver Ferns.”

The opening match on 2 March 2021 will be the first with Coach Stacey Marinkovich at the helm and Koenen said she has been impressed with the new coach so far.

While less than ideal circumstances have impacted squad preparations, the Lightning shooter has noticed a real emphasis on building club culture and connections.

“She’s been awesome with adapting and changing plans on the fly,” she said.

“I’m keen to get out on court and see what she has to say and the feedback she can give me in a coaching role.

“I think all the work she’s done to develop the Diamonds’ culture already has put us in a good place off the court, before we even get over to New Zealand and get our hands on a netball – I’m very excited.”

The Constellation Cup test matches are scheduled for Christchurch Arena on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 March and then at Trustpower Baypark in Tauranga on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 March.

All Constellation Cup matches will be broadcast live on Nine, 9Gem and the Netball Live Official App.