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GREEN & GOLD WITH CBASS

When I first got selected for the Diamonds in 2016, I felt like it had been a long time coming. But I was over the moon. I definitely cried. It was such a proud moment.

 

I guess I’d been on the brink for a while, I’d been through the underage pathway, and to finally get that call, the sense of relief of having made it was absolutely fantastic.

 

I made my debut against England during the 2017 Quad Series. Oh gosh. I cannot remember a minute of it. I felt absolutely sick to my stomach. I actually was sick on the way to the game. I couldn’t believe it was happening.

 

Unfortunately, my opportunity came from Sharni having to pull out of that series, so I hadn’t really been expecting it. But I remember sitting there, hearing Lisa going through the team list and saying, ‘Goal keeper, on debut, Courtney Bruce’. I was like ‘Oh no, that’s me!’

 

I just remember being in the room and our physio and massage therapist being there calming me down because I was so nervous. We had a 45-minute drive out to Boondall to play, I was just so nervous, and I don’t remember a single bit of the game other than my parents being there.

 

When I first got selected for the Diamonds in 2016, I felt like it had been a long time coming. But I was over the moon. I definitely cried. It was such a proud moment.

 

The bit that I recall the best was standing there for the national anthem. Getting to sing the national anthem for the first time in my Diamonds’ dress standing next to CBass, to have someone that I know so well and I’ve grown up with and feel so comfortable with beside me and and just literally holding me up getting ready for the game, it was just such an overwhelming moment.

 

After that, everything was a blur. I don’t remember being named MVP. I remember nothing other than seeing my parents crying, and linking arms for the anthem before the game.

 

A few years ago, not many people would have been thinking there’d be West Aussies at either end of the court. But it gives me a lot of pride when I think where we’ve both come from. We grew up within 15 minutes of each other and both played in the same region, so to get the opportunity to be in the Diamonds with CBass is so special for me. God, I’m even getting a bit emotional now!

 

I met CBass at Southern Districts when I was around 14. I just remember looking up to her, and up at her. I was a tall kid but I think at that point I felt tiny, still. I was just in absolute awe of everything that she’d been doing. Now she’s the Diamonds’ captain and I’m the Fever captain. Yeah, it’s worked out quite well for both of us.

 

She’s obviously a shooter, but I like to joke that I’m not enough of a princess for that sort of role. To be honest, I don’t think I’d like the pressure, either. I just feel like defence is my calling. I’ve definitely got a bit of mongrel in me, which I’m not sure is something you can teach.

 

I’m still an introvert off the court, but my extrovert tendencies definitely come out when I’m playing.

 

 

 

MIND GAMES

I’m studying part-time for my psychology degree. How much more to go? Yeah, that’s a great question. A long time!

 

I deferred for the Comm Games and then I just forgot to go back for this semester, which is probably the best decision I’ve made. I’ve got about another two years left fulltime, which will probably end up being, to be honest, seven.

 

How many years have I done already? Yeah, again, too many! Four or five.

 

I do take some things out of it to help with my netball career, though. Definitely the visualisation and being able to picture myself doing what I want to put out there on court. Also my self-awareness has grown over the last year and through what I’m doing with uni but I’m also working with our team psychs on things like how to take the pressure off.

 

I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about just being able to relax, follow the process and just enjoy it out there – hence the smiling.

 

Obviously to lose the Commonwealth Games final to England was hard. We’ve gone back and looked at what we all were trying to do at that point in time, and why we were doing what we were doing, and just taken it back to basics.

 

View this post on Instagram

Auckland bound with this bunch ✈ @aussiediamonds

A post shared by Courtney Bruce (@court.bruce) on

 

But we’ve also said, ‘This is a bit of a new-look Diamonds team, post-retirements, and we’re kind of building our own new brand of what we want the Diamonds to look like over an exciting next couple of years. We want to keep pushing the Diamonds’ evolution’.

 

We’ve won the Quad Series and the first two Constellation Cup Tests but we can still work on so much: maintaining leads, pushing out the margin, and keeping up that scoreboard pressure. We’ve had some great starts and New Zealand have been able to creep back in, but the exciting thing is that we’re showing what we’re capable of, even though I still don’t think we’ve played a full 60-minute game yet.

 

I’d be over the moon to get to the World Cup next year in Liverpool. We’re looking forward to what’s coming, we’re definitely building, seeing what combinations work and where our strengths are and where we can continue to grow.

 

I’m trying to grasp every opportunity and not let go, because it could all get taken away at any point. That’s another reason why I’m smiling. And if the wind changes and I get stuck that way, I’ll be happy then, too.

 

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