Netball's Constellation Cup shifts to 2021

The Diamonds will have to wait until early 2021 for the chance to defend the Constellation Cup.
The Diamonds will have to wait until early 2021 for the chance to defend the Constellation Cup.

New Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich will have to wait a little longer for her first competitive match following the postponement of October's Constellation Cup series.

Current biosecurity restrictions on both sides of the Tasman, along with concerns over athlete wellbeing following the condensed season, led to a joint decision from the governing bodies in Australia and New Zealand to put off the eagerly anticipated series until early in 2021.

Marinkovich was appointed to the Diamonds role in August and will fulfil her international commitments alongside her job as West Coast Fever coach until the end of 2021. She will then coach Australia full time.

She and her players will get to double-up next year, with a second series between the sport's heavyweights planned to take place in October 2021.

"As the incoming coach, I can't wait to experience my first Constellation Cup, however the quarantining impacts are a real challenge for the program and athletes for both countries," Marinkovich said in a statement.

"We'll use this time to recover and regroup to ensure the early 2021 Constellation Cup will showcase the rivalry and talent like never before."

Stacey West, Netball Australia's executive general manager of performance, said athlete welfare played a key role in the decision to delay the series.

"It is our priority to ensure that all athletes within the Origin Diamonds squad are able to recover after the condensed Suncorp Super Netball season and long pre-season, to allow them to adequately prepare for the 2021 netball calendar, and more broadly the 2022 Commonwealth Games and 2023 Netball World Cup," she said.

"We will also continue discussions with other Netball Quad Series partners regarding international match play opportunities early in 2021."

Australian Associated Press