After a long off season, Melbourne Vixens defender Jo Weston has both a fresh Super Netball campaign and the biggest competition of her life to contend with in April.
Australia’s Diamonds are one of her “two really special teams”, and are about to reunite her with old friends – and sometime foes – as the reigning Commonwealth Games champions defend their title on the Gold Coast.
“It’s pretty crazy to be honest,” she says. “I use the word surreal a lot. It feels really exciting, they’re a great group of girls and support staff and it’s an honour to be in the mix. I also get to play alongside some of my fellow teammates who I played with in the under 15s then under 21s and now we’re in the Australian team together so that’s really cool.”
Jo, now 24, spent two years at the Australian Institute of Sport with Gabi Simpson and Courtney Bruce, who are both in the Commonwealth Games squad along with Vixens teammate Liz Watson.
Friends and foes
While most of her Diamonds teammates are opponents in the Super Netball competition, a strong team culture brings them together. “It just permeates through. We have to trust in each other that we’re doing the best we can in training while away from each other and that puts us in good stead when we do get together.
“The Games will be the biggest competition I’ve been a part of and also the only multi-sport competition we get to be a part of so that makes it quite special. Having it on home soil is also going to make it exciting, knowing we’ll have the support of our home crowd.”
“I’m planning on soaking it all in. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I think the vibe and atmosphere will be really great.”
Jo is eyeing up South Africa and Jamaica as tough contenders in Australia’s pool, while perennial rivals New Zealand and England in the wider competition will be looking to dislodge the Diamonds’ crown.