AUSTRALIAN Diamonds star Caitlin Thwaites believes the pain of Commonwealth Games defeat will drive the side during its upcoming international Test series against England, New Zealand and South Africa.
Bendigo-born Thwaites was this week confirmed in the Diamonds squad for the 2018 Quad Series and Constellation Cup this September and October in Australia and New Zealand.
The star goal shooter is one of nine players who featured during Australia’s silver-medal winning Commonwealth Games campaign earlier this year to retain her spot.
The Diamonds will open the Quad Series with a game against South Africa in New Zealand on September 15 before games against England in Newcastle on September 19 and against New Zealand in Melbourne on September 23.
The Constellation Cup against the Silver Ferns will follow with a four-match series from October 7 to 18.
Back in Bendigo last week ahead of a gruelling series of internationals, Thwaites insisted the Diamonds’ last-gasp 52-51 defeat still burned.
“I still have very mixed feelings about it – it was the most amazing and incredible experience to be part of a Com(monwealth) Games on home soil,” she said.
“Looking back, everything went to plan having our home crowd there and family, and then there was that last five minutes that really puts a big taint on the experience.
“Apart from that it was the most amazing thing to be a part of.”
Looking back, everything went to plan ... and then there was that last five minutes that really puts a big taint on the experience.Caitlin Thwaites
That disappointment was exacerbated following Collingwood Magpies disappointing Suncorp Super Netball season, which ended with just three wins and a draw from 14 games and seventh placed finish.
Thwaites believed the season may have taken on a whole new complexion had the Magpies not dropped a series of close games at the start of the season.
Three of five losses in the opening seven rounds came by three goals or less.
The Magpies have a new coach at the helm, with Thwaites’ former New South Wales Swifts head coach Rob Wright replacing Kristy Keppich-Birrell, who stood down at the end of the season.
The 29-year-old said she could not be happier for Wright, who spent last year with Collingwood as an assistant coach.
“He’s got such a great netball brain – he has a lot of insight and is very analytical,” Thwaites said.
“It’s great Collingwood have got him on board and signed him up.”
Thwaites was keen to impart some of her knowledge on junior and senior Sandhurst netballers at a special training session last Wednesday at the QEO courts.