Netball’s oldest rivalry is set to come to a head again on Thursday when the Diamonds take on the Silver Ferns in Melbourne.
The world’s first ever international netball test was held between the two countries in 1938, and this year’s Constellation Cup, comprising four matches, will mark the 13th series held since the concept was introduced in 2010.
Australia has been the more dominant team, but the last two series have been particularly close.
New Zealand lifted the trophy in 2021 for the first time in nine years (3-1) and were forced to return it to the Diamonds in 2022 after last year’s competition was decided by goal difference (2-2).
With that in mind, there may be even more to play for in the Constellation Cup this time around, given the teams have not met in any of netball’s recent major tournaments.
Netball fans have become so accustomed to watching a hard-fought trans-Tasman clash that usually decides the World Cup and Commonwealth Games finals, and while Australia managed to win the 2022 Birmingham events and of South Africa in 2023, New Zealand instead won bronze at the Games. and failed to win a World Cup medal.
For the Silver Ferns, it’s a chance to test their skills against the new world champions and redeem their reputation as another top-two ranked team in the world.
Amy Parmenter missed selection for the series, but the Diamonds’ centrally contracted midfielder has been in camp with the team to help them prepare.
She was also named today to play the previous three-match series against South Africa.
“I’m so excited to have been selected for this South African series. I feel like I’ve been in and out of the team so I’ll never take it for granted because it can be so fleeting” , Parmenter said.
“The environment is so good at the moment, they won the World Cup and you would expect their mentality to be: ‘We won that and the Commonwealth Games, we did everything,’ but it’s all about ‘how can we be better?’
“There’s an even higher level of expectation.”
Fans were disappointed to learn that Parmenter had missed the Constellation Cup, as it was widely believed that she could be the next specialist wing defense in line to replace Ash Brazill, now that the veteran had retired.
Instead, the Diamonds chose Kate Moloney, who alternates between the middle three positions at clubs, played an important role at the Commonwealth Games and was a reserve for the World Cup.
“You always want to be part of the team, but I respect their decision and I don’t think it’s ever easy to be in someone’s shoes,” Parmenter said.
“From everything I’ve heard, Kate was impeccable as a World Cup reserve, she gave everything there, and I think she deserves to race.”
Has the CPA dispute distracted players?
Several extrajudicial issues have threatened to distract the Diamonds from their international commitments over the past 12 months.
This time last year it was the Hancock sponsorship controversy, then just before the World Cup Netball Australia and the players clashed over Diamonds pay.
Today, that tension persists in the CPA Super Netball negotiations – the two sides are competing over a sponsorship revenue-sharing or profit-sharing model – but whatever the obstacle, the team has still managed to win all the trophies presented to him. and Parmenter expects the Constellation Cup to be the same.
“The girls are all very professional and know how to prioritize their focus, but it’s a little frustrating that once again this October series has been overshadowed by other things, like last year with the drama of sponsorship,” Parmenter said.
“What that means is they’ve had a bit of practice now in whitewashing this stuff and at the end of the day they have a job to do, and performance on the pitch is the thing the most important.
“All stakeholders want is to feel valued as more than just employees within the organization, because we don’t feel like we’re seen as the product and the reason why this company survives.”
Men’s Trans-Tasman Cup
As the Diamonds and Silver Ferns prepare to face their fiercest rivals, so do their male counterparts.
For a second consecutive year, the men’s and women’s teams will face off in a doubleheader, with the men competing in a three-game series for the Trans-Tasman Cup.
The Australian team will also introduce their new name – the Kelpies – in their first match in Melbourne, having previously been known as Sonix.
Midfielder Riley Richardson said he wasn’t originally convinced by the name, but after learning more about the dog breed’s key characteristics – intelligent, alert, boundless energy, ball chaser natural, intensely loyal and focused – he changed his mind.
“I love the name now, but I have to admit, I was a little wary of it when it was first announced,” Richardson said. Netty life podcast.
“There was a lot of feedback, we received feedback from current national players as well as previous generations of players, so there was a lot of consultation before making a decision and Kelpies were always very high on the shortlist .
“The more we thought as a team about what the name Kelpies means to us and what we want our netball brand to look and feel like, it really feels like home.”
With no World Cup or Commonwealth Games for the men, this Trans-Tasman Cup is their flagship event.
As with the women’s, it also has a long history steeped in rivalry, with the Test series reinstated in 2010 after a 10-year hiatus and continuing ever since.
As the men’s side of the game is not officially regulated by Netball Australia or World Netball, resources are hard to come by and selection is the ultimate reward for the hard work done individually by players to stay fit while they hold the cut. work time.
The good news is that almost all state associations now operate their own men’s league, meaning players can save valuable time on the field and team up to practice national combinations during these matches.
Before the start of the series, there was also a call for sponsorship on social media, asking people to contribute and help individual players bear the burden of the costs of the upcoming tour.
Although Netball Australia now subsidizes part of the fees to help the men’s team cover their expenses for the Trans-Tasman Cup, Richardson said the sponsorship appeal had gone well.
“Paying to play is still a part of men’s football and it’s something that generations before us have also done to get into tournaments,” Richardson said.
“It has become a basic idea that when you are selected you have to have the time and annual leave ready to go so you can commit.
“I’ve been very lucky to have a few businesses and friends contribute to my funding and I think almost everyone has received sponsorship to some extent. So we’re grateful that people can see how much we “We work hard, and that motivates us more to play. Well, because we want to make them proud.”
GAME 1 — Thursday October 12 in Melbourne, 7:30 p.m. AEDT
GAME 2 — Sunday October 15 at Brisbane, 6:30 p.m. AEST
GAME 3 — Thursday October 19 at Invercargill, 7:30 p.m. NZDST
THU 4 — Monday October 23 in Auckland, 4:00 p.m. NZDST
GAME 1 — Thursday October 12 in Melbourne, 5:30 p.m. AEDT
GAME 2 — Sunday October 15 at Brisbane, 4:30 p.m. AEST
GAME 3 — Monday October 23 in Auckland, 2:00 p.m. NZDST