West Coast Fever midcourter Verity Charles has been rewarded for a career-best Super Netball season with a berth in the Australian Diamonds squad for 2020-21.
The 29-year-old joins Fever captain Courtney Bruce and fellow midcourt star Jess Anstiss in the 19-player squad, which will play for two Constellation Cup titles in 2021 under new Diamonds and current West Coast coach Stacey Marinkovich.
“We’re playing well as a team, but I didn’t know if my performance was up there or not. It’s huge, to get recognised in the squad is great, but now I want to get into this team,” Charles said.
“It would be a dream come true for me, but also my family, they’ve been on this ride with me, they’ve wanted this as much as me.”
Anstiss returns to the squad after being on the verge of her international debut in 2018 as she continues to develop into one of Super Netball’s most consistent players.
“I’m very excited, I was a bit shocked and confused when I received the phone call from Stacey, but very excited to be back in the squad,” Anstiss said.
“I’ve just gone in not overthinking my game and just playing for the fun of it and I think that’s definitely helped, but also being away in this hub, netball is everything, there are not many distractions out there.”
Fever and Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich said Charles had improved significantly this season to earn selection.
“I think you can see that with the results in what she is doing out on court,” Marinkovich said.
“There’s been a lot of consistent performances across the midcourt and we’ve really been able to look at performances players and pick on that.
“The reality is the midcourt is hotly contested across the league and there are some extremely tough decisions.”
Marinkovich said she found it easy to pick Fever players in the Diamonds squad while coaching both sides.
“Because you have a whole lot of data sets, you’ve got some really robust and challenging conversations that you have to ensure you do cover of what it is that you need to play international netball,” she said.
West Australian Sophie Garbin, who plays for the NSW Swifts, also made the squad for the first time.
Netball Australia is working with the Queensland Government with the aim of hosting a camp for the new squad shortly after the Super Netball grand final.
Jess Anstiss (Fever), Kiera Austin (GIANTS), Caitlin Bassett (GIANTS), Gretel Bueta (Firebirds), Courtney Bruce (Fever), Verity Charles (Fever), Sophie Garbin (Swifts), Paige Hadley (Swifts), Kimberley Jenner (Firebirds), Cara Koenen (Lightning), Sarah Klau (Swifts), Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS), Maddy Proud (Swifts), Emily Mannix (Vixens), Kate Moloney (Vixens), Gabi Simpson (Firebirds), Liz Watson (Vixens), Jo Weston (Vixens), Steph Wood (Lightning).