NS EXCLUSIVE: Diamonds chat Netball World Cup – Part 1.

NS EXCLUSIVE: Diamonds chat Netball World Cup – Part 1.

Just before the Australian Diamonds flew to Cape Town, Jenny Sinclair caught up with four of their stars. Jamie-Lee Price, Kate Moloney, Sarah Klau and Paige Hadley shared a range of insights, from how their selection unfolded, to what they are expecting in Cape Town, the strengths of the Australian team, what it means to be a reserve, and what has lit the fire in their belly.

In Part 1, Jamie-Lee Price and Kate Moloney share their insights.


Jamie-Lee Price makes her return to the Australian 12 after missing out on the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Known for her strength and defensive prowess, Price has added attacking finesse to make her a complete all round athlete. With time spent in New Zealand pathways, Price also has a strong understanding of how to penetrate the Silver Ferns zone, which will become critical in the cross over stages of the tournament.


You are making your return to a pinnacle event after missing out on the 2022 Commonwealth Games team. What were your emotions like when you got the phone call to say you were in the team?

It was a really nerve-wracking build up. You never know what you are going to get in one of those calls, and I have been on the back end of both good and bad news. So I really wasn’t sure. It was a very emotional phone call from both ends, both for Stacey in telling me the good news and for me in receiving it. When I heard I went through so many happy emotions, from excitement through to relief.


Your game has really gone to new levels this season. Were there particular areas that you focused on?

Personally I believed that I could go to a new level and I just hadn’t got to that point of doing it, and doing it consistently. So the biggest thing for me this season was pushing myself to the limit – practising that in training sessions and then taking that out on to court.

Focusing on my attacking skills, passing and cutting. Also working on my strength. I’m more of a defensive player, so also trying to get more hand on ball. Little things that I felt that I could improve on, and then to leave the court knowing that I’d done everything I could in the match.


You took part in the 2019 Netball World Cup. How has your preparation been different this time around?

Personally, I was very green, and very young four years ago. I’ve had so many more international experiences since then, I’ve learned so much and I have more confidence in my ability.

From a group perspective, Stacey Marinkovich has done a really good job of keeping us all connected during the SSN season with all the work behind the scenes that she’s been doing. We were focused on club land, but at the same time strengthening that off-court connection. We’ve been in camp for a week and half now, and we will keep building.


You have played under a number of leaders now in the Diamonds and in club land – what do Liz (Watson) and Steph (Wood) bring to the team as captain and vice-captain?

Liz and Steph are natural leaders, in the way they lead on court. The way they action things out on court, the workload that they do, and their netball brains are insane. They also do a lot behind the scenes too, trying to keep us connected. Playing in clubland and trying to stay in touch is hectic, but our coaching staff and leaders do a good job and it’s so important so that we are strong out on court.

Liz is someone – you will never know when she’s tired because she goes and goes and goes. She could play every game, never looks exhausted, and I admire that as a midcourter. Stephanie – her ball playing skills and netball smarts, are incredible. I watch her sometimes and wonder how she finds the space she does. They both bring different qualities, but together they have such experience and a wealth of knowledge.


You’ve been in the position of being a reserve at last year’s Commonwealth Games. How difficult is that position to be in?

It isn’t an easy role, and you have to be very selfless for the team. But that’s what Stacey and our staff do so well. Whether you are in the 12, the 15 or the larger squad, you feel just as connected as the starting seven do. I felt so a part of the Commonwealth Games, right up to the point where you realise, ‘I’m not any more’, because we had to leave when they went into the village.

It is different this time around, because the three reserves will stay with us. We have the best group of girls – everyone is everyone else’s cheerleaders, so they will give us everything they have, and as a group we need to do everything we can to make them feel just as involved as possible.

The main difference will be during games – it will be hard for them sitting on the sidelines watching, and they will get itchy feet to be out there playing, but it is a tournament and you never know what might happen.


It’s the first World Cup in South Africa. What are you looking forward to?

I was lucky that I played in the World Youth Cup in Botswana a while ago, and then went to Quad Series in January. The people in South Africa LOVE netball – they are very passionate, loud, they love to dance and sing. So the culture and vibes will be high, even though the stadium doesn’t hold as many as ours do here in Australia. I’m excited that our family and friends will be able to experience that. Cape Town is also such a beautiful city, so there’s plenty for them to do.


Jamie-Lee Price in action for the Diamonds. Image May Bailey I Clusterpix


Jamie-Lee Price has been in formidable form for the Giants this season. (Image by: May Bailey | Netball Scoop)


Kate Moloney

Kate Moloney was a force to be reckoned with at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. With a safe pair of hands and a tireless engine, she notched up an incredibly high amount of playing time after the injury to Paige Hadley. Moloney was a casualty of Australia’s depth in the midcourt, and while unfortunate not to be picked for the 12 to try for Netball World Cup gold, she will be one of three reserves that could be called on as injury replacement. It’s an incredibly tough job, but as well as adding her leadership skills to the mix, Moloney is the ultimate team player.


There’s a short time between Super Netball and the World Cup – what has been the Diamonds’ key focus in camp?

As teams dropped out of the finals race, we’ve been able to have two mini camps before coming into the Diamonds’ camp in Melbourne. The most important thing for us has been getting on court together and building connections. It’s been a while since we’ve been together as a unit.


What does it mean to have the Indigenous artwork and story on your dresses, for the first time at a World Cup?

It means so much. Our first day in camp we had a smoking ceremony and were presented with our dress. Every time you get presented with a Diamonds dress it means so much, but to see the Indigenous artwork on it, what it represents and the journey we share, was really special.


This World Cup sees a level playing field among many of the top nations. What do you think are some of the ‘X’ factors for Australia?

With so many countries pushing for that top ranking it makes international netball exciting, but makes it tougher on us. The great thing about the Diamonds is the versatility that we have. We have so many options in every area of the court, so I believe our depth is going to be a key factor for us.


What are going to be your biggest challenges?

Going into a tournament like this, it’s about being able to back up each day. You can’t underestimate how tough it is to have eight games in ten days, and you need to make sure you are both physically and mentally ready to go. When you are coming up against teams like New Zealand that have been building for a few years, or England and Jamaica – who will both be stronger again this year, and particularly the Jamaicans after playing in the SSN – preparation for playing against them is also key.


What is something unique that you are expecting from the World Cup in South Africa?

We were lucky enough to head to Cape Town earlier in the year. The stadium wasn’t big, but it was loud. The singing, the dancing, so we are excited to head back there. Africans love their netball, and we hope that some of them will support the Diamonds.


How important was the Quad Series in your preparation?

Very. The key was to experience what conditions would be like on the ground – the hotel, the meals, the training environment, the facilities, what it would all look and feel like. It is different from what we are used to in Australia, so we learned a lot from that trip, what worked well, and what we could change if possible.

Training, match and recovery time is all important, but we also make sure we have a balance. Our time table will be restricted, there’s also time slots to have to ourselves. So we’ve also found our coffee spots that  we like, and there’s always a group of girls ready to go for a walk there.


You received a difficult phone call to say you would be one of the three reserves. What are your thoughts on your role?

We have so much depth in the Australian midcourt, so I knew it would be difficult to make the team, and it was disappointing to get that call. I’ve been in this position before though, and while I don’t know if that makes it harder or easier, I’m lucky that I’ve got amazing support within the team and back home.

I know what my role is, and I will support the girls as best as I can. There will be some learning involved with that, because this time we stay with the group rather than leave the day before the tournament starts, which is what usually happens.

Our role is to help ensure that we are training hard, setting the standards, and helping get the girls ready for the game. The three of us will also need to keep training ourselves, just in case we are needed.


Once you knew who was in the team, but before it was publicly announced, there was an incredibly classy photo of you sharing a moment with Jamie-Lee Price. Can you tell me about that?

We found out who was in the day or two before, and Jamie was one of the first people I messaged because she was in this position at the Comm Games. She’s a good friend of mine, she’s had an incredible SSN season and I wanted to make sure that she knew I was there to support her.

I wanted to congratulate her and make sure that she knew how happy and excited I was for her. I’ve been in her position where you are in the team and someone has missed out, and sometimes it’s nearly harder.


Ash Brazill is retiring. Has there been any focus on that in camp, or is it business as usual?

Brazzy has been an incredible player for Australia and in our domestic leagues, as well as a great teammate – she brings a lot of energy and leadership. At the moment it’s business as usual, but I know we will want to celebrate Brazzy and send her off in the best possible way we can. Hopefully that is with a gold medal around her neck.


Kate Moloney was also a training partner ahead of the 2019 Netball World Cup. Photo: May Bailey


Kate Moloney with the cheeky thumbs up while in Vixens’ mode. Image Aliesha Vicars.

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About the Author:

Physiotherapist, writer and netball enthusiast. Feature articles, editorials and co-author of "Shine: the making of the Australian Netball Diamonds". Everyone has a story to tell, and I'm privileged to put some of them on paper. Thank you to the phenomenal athletes, coaches and people in the netball world who open a door to their lives, and let me tiptoe in.
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