OPINION: When Caitlin Bassett announced in 2020 that she would cut ties with GIANTS Netball and continue her netball career across the ditch, many wondered whether this would impact her selection for the Australian Diamonds squad.
Despite the move, Caitlin “CBass” Bassett remains eligible and in contention.
Since CBass and her Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic teammates seem to have found a connection in recent matches, we have had the pleasure of seeing the CBass of old shining in the New Zealand ANZ Premiership competition.
With that in mind, here’s why I think a CBass pick for Diamonds would be a stroke of genius for Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich and her selectors.
CBass has the benefit of having played traditional netball all year.
The ANZ Premiership, unlike its Australian counterpart, does not have timeouts or super shots (goals worth two when shot from a designated zone in the last five minutes of every quarter).
International netball will be just another day in the office for CBass – not so for Super Netball shooters who will have to adjust when on Diamonds duties after playing with amended rules all season.
Sidenote: CBass has been sinking goals from distance this year, which, apart from being a hilarious “up yours” to the rule change that supposedly forced her out of the Super Netball league, proves she’s not just a one-trick pony.
CBass has spent the whole season up against Diamonds’ biggest competition and held her own
In the Round 14 of ANZP, CBass re-announced herself to the netball world as her Magic side took on Tactix.
CBass returned to be the strong GS we all know and love and put in an impressive performance against a lethal Tactix defensive unit who will ultimately make Ferns selection.
Defenders Karin Burger and Jane Watson could be said to be playing career-best netball, a scary combination for many as they play week in, week out, yet CBass had a stellar performance against the duo, shooting 40 from 42 at 95 per cent this past weekend.
Another aspect of it all is that, apart of the March 2021 Constellation Cup series, the other Diamonds’ shooters have not come up against New Zealand’s defensive unit – gone are the days of the ANZ Championship.
Apart from the March 2021 Constellation Cup series, it would have been a long time since other potential Diamonds shooters have come up against New Zealand defenders, whose connections and skills have only grown stronger this season.
There’s no undermining the knowledge and experience that comes with holding the title of Diamonds skipper since 2017.
Although Vixen Liz Watson ended up captaining three out of four games earlier this year, we saw an interesting captaincy rotation policy implemented in our last International test series.
It is still unconfirmed who will be selected as Diamonds captain moving forward.
However, if it does change hands, as part of the squad, CBass could play a pivotal role in supporting her successor and showing them the ropes.
The number one thing that has stood out for me the most from CBass’ 2021 season is how she uses her voice on court – especially in encouragement of the youngsters in her team.
Whether it’s an iconic “nice Chi Chi!” to Magic Goal Attack Chiara Semple or congratulating the middies on their feed in to her before she’s even put the shot up, CBass has been so amazingly vocal that Netty Twitter has even called for her to be mic’ed up during games.
Our Diamond #150 is an accomplished centurion with a long list of significant netball achievements. With a relatively young group of Aussie shooters up for Diamonds contention, the addition of CBass’ mentoring and support, both on and off court, is not to be disregarded.
CBass NZ Edition
Lastly, can I just say how much I am living for CBass: New Zealand edition? (Extra points for CBass: hot girl pastel pink hair glow up edition)
Our girl has clearly embraced her new lifestyle away from home and is thriving. I almost feel like we don’t deserve her.
Surrounded by teammates who support her – special mention to Erena Mikaere – and after a tumultuous 2020, she is finally enjoying her netty again.
This can only bode well for Diamonds. A happy CBass is a confident CBass and confidence is everything in international netball.