Guthrie: Quad Series win would be ‘huge’ for Roses

Emma Thurston

Interviews, comment & analysis @Emma_T_Sport

England’s Vitality Roses start their Netball Quad Series against South Africa on Saturday; the series features England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia; all four teams are preparing for July’s Commonwealth Games, every match will be live on Sky Sports and streamed on YouTube

Last Updated: 12/01/22 6:06am

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England Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthrie says a Quad Series win would be huge ahead of the Commonwealth Games
England Vitality Roses captain Serena Guthrie says a Quad Series win would be huge ahead of the Commonwealth Games

Serena Guthrie believes a first Netball Quad Series victory, at the start of a Commonwealth Games year, would be “huge” for England’s Vitality Roses.

The Roses captain, who made her debut for her country back in 2008, was speaking ahead of England hosting South Africa, New Zealand and Australia at the Copper Box Arena in London.

The series starts on Saturday, with eight matches being played across the four days of action, and every contest being shown live on Sky Sports and streamed on YouTube for viewers in the UK and Ireland.

The series comes at the beginning of a Commonwealth Games year. All four sides have already qualified for July’s competition and England will arrive in Birmingham as the defending champions after their triumph on the Gold Coast in 2018.

The Vitality Roses' victory on the Gold Coast was an exceptional moment for the team
The Vitality Roses’ victory on the Gold Coast was an exceptional moment for the team

In the eyes of Guthrie, this Netball Quad Series is of vital importance for the Vitality Roses’ preparations ahead of their bid to defend their title.

“It’s great for us,” she told Sky Sports News. “You’re talking about having teams that are all ranked in the top five in the world together, so it’s great in terms of preparing for the business-end of that competition.

“We’ll be looking to get some information and see how we fair up. We’re just looking forward to getting some good performances in so that come Commonwealth Games time, we know what works tactically against these teams.

“It’s a big deal. We’re really excited, preparations have been going well and we’re only a few days out so we’re just looking forward to getting going.”

Netball Quad Series – Live on Sky Sports and Sky Sports YouTube channel

January 15, 2022 Vitality Roses vs South Africa 2pm
January 15, 2022 New Zealand vs Australia 4.15pm
January 16, 2022 Australia vs South Africa 2pm
January 16, 2022 Vitality Roses vs New Zealand 4.15pm
January 18, 2022 South Africa vs New Zealand 5.30pm
January 18, 2022 Vitality Roses vs Australia 7.30pm
January 19, 2022 Third vs Fourth 5.30pm
January 19, 2022 Final 7.30pm

The Vitality Roses’ schedule sees them face South Africa on the opening day of the competition before their meetings with New Zealand and then Australia.

Last year, the team won a series in New Zealand for the first time following a 49-45 victory in the deciding Test in Christchurch.

After suffering semi-final World Cup heartbreak at the hands of the Silver Ferns in 2019, that series victory marked another milestone moment for this ever-developing England outfit.

Guthrie believes the Silver Ferns, who play under one of the most revered head coaches, Dame Noeline Taurua, will be better prepared for this competition though.

“It will be nice to have another crack against New Zealand,” she said.

“They will have had a little bit more of a training build into this series, so we expect them to be a little bit sharper and better, that means we have to be better too.

“It will be good to get another hit-out against them and see how we match-up as well.”

Vitality Roses Squad – Netball Quad Series

Imogen Allison Eleanor Cardwell Jade Clarke
Beth Cobden Sophie Drakeford-Lewis Georgina Fisher
Stacey Francis-Bayman Layla Guscoth Serena Guthrie (captain)
Natalie Haythornthwaite (vice-captain) Helen Housby Laura Malcolm
Geva Mentor Eboni Usoro-Brown

England’s encounter with Australia, the outfit they beat in the Commonwealth Games final on the Gold Coast, is eagerly anticipated by fans and players like.

With many of the Vitality Roses squad players having played their domestic netball in Australia, or in the case of Geva Mentor, Stacey Francis-Bayman and Helen Housby continuing to play their netball in Australia, the encounter should be fascinating.

Jo Harten would have been a key part of the duel with Australia, and the series as a whole, however she tested positive for Covid-19 and was not able to fly over to England.

Since the pandemic struck, the Australian Diamonds have had limited opportunities to play Test netball and as a result, will be looking to develop under the watch of head coach Stacey Marinkovich.

Marinkovich was appointed in the role in August 2020 after Netball Australia decided not to renew the contract of Lisa Alexander, who had led the side for more than eight years and was the most-capped Diamonds head coach of all time.

“They’ll be champing at the bit to get going and again,” Guthrie said.

“We know what to expect from Australia. They’re hard, they’re fast and they’ll wear you like a backpack for the whole 60 minutes! But we quite enjoy that… it suits our style.

“They’re quite a young team and still very much looking to stamp their own authority with a new captain as well in Liz Watson.”

With the work that England’s head coach Jess Thirlby has done over the past two years, the Vitality Roses come into this Netball Quad Series with a strength in depth that’s greater than ever and a strong mindset.

“Every time we hit a competition now, our intention is to win it, because that’s part of preparing a team for a major tournament,” Thirlby made clear, prior to their recent series against Jamaica.

“Obviously, that’s the aim, to go out and win it,” Guthrie said, when looking ahead to this Netball Quad Series.

“It would be huge for us. This is the last time we’re going to see these teams before the Commonwealth Games, so we’re going out there to try and win it, that’s always the aim for us. It would be nice to go into a Commonwealth Games knowing that we’ve taken a few more scalps.”

Source : Sky Sports