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COMMONWEALTH GAMES GUIDE: with Olivia Murphy

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 14, 2014

Olivia Murphy, captain of the England Netball Team, in action against South Africa in the 3rd test match held at the NIA in Birmingham on 13th December 2005. Egland won the match to take the series 3-0.

Olivia Murphy, captain of the England Netball Team, in action against South Africa in the 3rd test match held at the NIA in Birmingham on 13th December 2005. Egland won the match to take the series 3-0.

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How do you think England will do?

Murphy: I actually think that we have got a fabulous opportunity to do well.

The teams will be looking at kicking on, and the draw of getting to a major final is fantastic.

I think they are ready to take that next step.

A big boost was that the ladies beat Australia in a test series, which is a huge step for them as it’s something we hadn’t done for 50 or 60 years.

The coaches are setting out for a medal, and I think even coming away with a bronze would be a bit of a disappointment.

If they can get into the final, that would be great - and from there anything can happen.

The long-term aim is to be world champions by 2019, but wouldn’t it be great to kick that off with a Commonwealth gold?

Which individuals should we be looking out for?

Murphy: Our biggest star, Pam Cookey, injured her Achilles in a league game, and she will be sorely missed.

But we have still got some world-class girls in the team, including six who play in the ANZ (the combined Australia and New Zealand netball league).

That’s the best league in the world, but each team in that league has restrictions on the number of imported players they can have, so you’ve got to be really good to be playing over there.

Our shooter, Jo Horton, was named MVP (most valuable player) last season, while the captain Jade Clarke was named the best centre in the world.

And the defender Geva Mentor was in the team that won the ANZ league, so we have plenty of talent.

Will it be a good games?

Murphy: The Commonwealth Games is, with the World Championships, the biggest event in netball.

I was lucky enough to attend the England selection event, and you could see that the girls were doing everything they could to get on that plane to Glasgow.

I think it will be a really good games.

I took a youth team up there last year for what was sort of a try-out of the facilities, and everything was excellent.

It’s almost on home soil as well, which will be a big thing - I played in the games in Manchester, and it’s amazing to have it so close.

The girls will feel it’s a home games, and there will be lots of local support as well.

What are your greatest Commonwealth Games memories?

Murphy: My final game was at the Commonwealth Games in 2006, when we won bronze, and when I played at the 1998 games, that was the first time netball had been part of the Commonwealths.

So they are both fond memories and definitely two highlights of my career.

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