Cara Koenen and Steph Wood have been selected as part of the 12-strong Australian Diamonds Netball Team that will travel to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Commonwealth Games debutant, Cara Koenen said she was thrilled to receive the call from Australian Diamonds Head Coach, Stacey Marinkovich last week.
“There was a whole lot of emotions when I received my phone call from Stacey. It was a little over a week ago so there’s been a lot of excitement I’ve been trying to keep contained. I’ve had a few of the girls say they kind of had a feeling because I’ve been in quite a good mood since the day that I got my call,” she said.
“It’s just pure elation. I’m very honoured and obviously it’s a very competitive landscape in the Diamonds squad at the moment so to be able to attain a spot and be lining up with Steph as well is really exciting and I can’t wait to go to my first Games.”
Stacey Marinkovich will have the job of testing out different combinations — both during the lead-up to the Games and during — before settling on a starting seven.
“I think Stacey will be pretty open-minded and just focus on combinations. Obviously we’ve got some existing ones — myself and Steph, and Keira [Austin], Lizzy [Liz Watson] and Kate [Moloney]. I think it will be looking at how we can integrate all of those together. We’ve got a pretty diverse group so we’ll be looking at how we can use players as impact players and how we can change up the dynamics of the game. We’ve got a really strong 12 and anyone could take the court at any time,” Cara said.
The 12 athletes will face up against a number of international teammates who will be looking to bring home gold at the Games.
“It’s definitely an interesting one, having all of the international players over here. We’re obviously playing against the likes of the Jamaican and English girls week in, week out. So in the same way we know their game inside out, they kind of know ours,” Cara said.
“It’s just going to be who’s able to best come together in a short turnaround and be able to put out combinations on court. There are so many competitive teams over there — but it’ll make for good netball to watch.”
The two-time Suncorp Super Netball premiership winner reflected on this moment as one of the highlights in her career.
“This moment is really hard to quantify. Winning a gold would probably be up there — with Commonwealth Games and World Cup the marquee events for netball. But just to be given this opportunity is a massive highlight of mine.
“It’s all just the experiences that you get as a professional athletes and doing it with the girls that are your best mates. I’m really looking forward to getting over there and putting my best foot forward.”
The Australian Diamonds will complete training camps in Perth and Manchester prior to the Birmingham Games which will be help from Thursday 28 July to Monday 8 August. The netball competition will be conducted from Friday 29 through to Sunday 7 August at the NEC Arena.