Donnell Wallam has been left out of Australia's 14-player squad for the upcoming netball quad series against New Zealand, South Africa and England. The Diamonds announced their squad on Wednesday, with Wallam an unlucky omission after her sparkling display on debut against England in November.
The Aussies have instead gone with Kiera Austin, Sophie Dwyer, Sophie Garbin, Cara Koenen and Steph Wood as their attacking options for the January 22-26 series in Cape Town. Amy Parmenter has also been left out, with Ash Brazill returning from a stint in the AFLW with Collingwood.
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“The Netball Quad Series is key for our build up to the 2023 Netball World Cup, to be played in Cape Town,” Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich said. “Our focus for the series will be improving connections and the standard of performance while gaining a better understanding of our opposition.”
Wallam was an unused reserve during the Diamonds' Commonwealth Games campaign before she made her Test debut in a three-match series against England last month. She scored the match-winning goal on the buzzer in the first Test before producing another classy display in game three after missing the second.
Earlier this month she was named Super Netball's rookie of the year after a breakthrough season that saw her earn a call-up for Australia at the age of 28.
Her stunning performances came on the back of intense off-court controversy that followed Netball Australia losing a $15 million sponsorship deal with mining company Hancock Prospecting. A Noongar woman from Western Australia, Wallam had raised concerns about vile historical comments made by Gina Rinehart's later father and the company's former chair Lang Hancock about the Indigenous population.
Wallam was said to be uncomfortable wearing a uniform bearing the company's logo, and expressed her concerns to teammates, who supported her. Rinehart and Hancock Prospecting responded by withdrawing their $15 million lifeline for the cash-strapped sport, which had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mad. DW was a game changet in the last international series.
— Anne Connor (@anneconnor718) December 21, 2022
— Me (@TheBluntus) December 21, 2022
They always get a mention what are you on about?
— Ant cat (@antcat92) December 21, 2022
Well with the quad series team being announced I can sadly say that the only time maddy proud played for the diamonds was this year 2022 and she will probably never get selected again maybe the next thing is maddy and the swifts should part ways #netballchaos
— Bailey (@Bailey92035278) December 21, 2022
Netball Australia gets $15 million lifeline from Victoria
The Victorian government has since stepped in to fill the void, agreeing to a $15 million sponsorship deal of their own with Netball Australia. The new deal will see the Diamonds play international matches and hold training camps in Victoria from 2023 to 2026.
Players will also appear in tourism campaigns for Victoria and wear the Visit Victoria branding on their uniforms. Next year's Super Netball grand final will also be held in Victoria after it was staged in Perth this year when Western Australia won hosting rights in a bidding process.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews described the sponsorship deal as a "massive coup" for the state.
“We are the sporting and major events capital of our nation … to be able to have the world’s very best netball team wearing our logo, projecting all that we offer to the world and the rest of the country, is absolutely fantastic,” Mr Andrews said. "Other states wanted this but Victoria secured it."
Netball Australia CEO Kelly Ryan said: “Victoria is a proud sporting state, and we are delighted to announce a new partnership with Visit Victoria. The partnership will guarantee Victorians the opportunity to experience more netball across the next four and a half years."
Diamonds squad for netball quad series: Sunday Aryang, Kiera Austin, Ash Brazill, Courtney Bruce, Sophie Dwyer, Sophie Garbin, Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Cara Koenen, Kate Moloney, Jamie-Lee Price, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Steph Wood.