Whilst for many English fans this will be their first time to a Netball World Cup – here are some players for who this isn’t their first Rodeo…..or even their second or third!
1. Geva Mentor CBE – England
Arguably the best defender in the world – Geva made her debut for the England team at just 16 years old and she has never looked back.
Mentor was one of the first English players to make the move to Australia to play and she is now one of the legends of the game. Her timing is unbelievable and she has the ability to shut down any shooter you put next to her with her movement, court coverage and how she reads the game. Her presence within the circle makes the shooter question her space and the WA/C’s question where they are to put the ball. Mentor is probably also seen as one of the cleanest defenders on the court – great discipline and court presence – you won’t see Geva arguing with the umpires! This is Mentor’s 5th World Cup and she has also competed in 5 Commonwealth games (with the Gold Medal in 2018 of course!)
2. Laura Langman – New Zealand
Langman is the most capped Silver Fern – over taking Irene van Dyk’s record of 145 in October 2018 – and she is still racking up the caps! Langman is a phenomenal C – she covers so much court, with the ability to cover man to man, work with the famous NZ zone, make show-stopping interceptions and still have the ability to feed a killer ball into the circle. This is Laura’s 4th World Cup – and along with Casey Kopua – she is back to put the Silver Ferns back where they belong after their worst Commonwealth games to date. Her energy on court will lift her team and drive them to be better – her example and court craft is priceless and she is a threat to all teams throughout the court.
3 – Casey Kopua – New Zealand
Casey Kopua debuted for NZ in 2005 and has over 100 caps for her country. A legend in NZ – Kopua has always led by example and been a leader with the team. Kopua is the Queen of the Comeback – in 2015 she suffered what appeared to be a career ending injury and was out for 9 months – having to work hard to re-gain full movement in her knee before she could even contemplate getting back on the court. It is testament to her determination and character that she returned to the court in the ANZ. Casey then took some time out from netball to have her daughter – and she is back! NZ are a better team when she is on court – she brings a wealth of experience, leadership and she sets the on-court standards for the younger players – she will want to put the Silver Ferns back on top in her final Netball World Cup.
4 – Erin Burger – South Africa
Erin Burger debuted for South Africa in 2007 against England. Burger was the MVP of the World Cup in Singapore in 2011 – she is a work horse throughout the court and never seems to tire which means she is still strong in the final quarter. Joining the Queensland Firebirds in the Suncorp this season – Burger is enjoying her netball and she is just getting better and better. Her consistency means that she is difficult to leave out of the Proteas and her defiant defence means the intercepts will come through lots of hustle. After suffering an inflamed heart muscle it was questionable as to if Erin would return to the court but with the resurgence of South Africa with Norma Plummer at the helm – she was determined to get back in on the action – and from their start at this year’s Netball World Cup you can see why!
5 – Caitlin Bassett – Australia
Bassett is one of the biggest names in netball and when she shot 92% in last year’s Suncorp competition you can see why! With height and accuracy on her side – it is difficult to stop her – especially with all the Aussie Diamonds feeds firing in. Making her debut in 2008, Cailtin headed to Singapore with the Diamonds in 2011 – Bassett only missed 4 shots the whole World Cup campaign – with 151/155 – she definitely made her mark!
As Captain Fantastic for the Netball World Cup in Liverpool – Bassett will be wanting to lead her Diamonds to victory and put they back on top after that nail-biting defeat to the Roses at home in the Commonwealth games. Always leading by example – Bassett is a professional and will lead and guide the young players in the squad throughout this campaign.
6 – Jade Clarke – England
As the highest capped England player – Jade will be playing her 5th Netball World Cup. After coming through the ranks of England Netball – she debuted in 2003 against New Zealand. In 2011, Clarke was named England Captain and her performances always drive her team to want more. Playing in NZ, Australia and now back in the UK – she is able to adapt to new teammates, styles of play and also her opponents – making her a very valuable player indeed. Clarke is a versatile player – although her strongest position is WD for her relentless man to man defending and intercepts, she is a strong C and thanks to her vision, speed and accurate feeds she is more than comfortable at WA. This could be her last Netball World Cup and so she will only want it to end with a Gold!
7 – Rhonda John-Davis – Trinidad & Tobago – RECORD 6th NETBALL WORLD CUP!
With her first Netball World Cup in 1999 – Rhonda John-Davis is best placed to reflect on how far the game has come. With more and more competitions, nations are playing more netball and so she is excited about this year’s competition as the best nations come together to compete. Her experience, skill and coaching experience will lift her team and her point perfect feeds to Suncorp superstar Sam Wallace will keep adding to the scoreboard.