Sophie Garbin, Australian Diamonds, selection, controversy, Donnell Wallam, Collingwood Magpies, relief, Stacey Marinkovich


Diamonds star Sophie Garbin has opened up on the “massive relief” she felt when named to represent Australia at this month’s Netball World Cup, revealing she “burst into tears”.

Garbin’s selection was the most talked about by netball commentators and fans alike as she battled Queensland Firebird Donnell Wallam for that fourth shooter spot.

The 26-year-old spoke to Fox Netball about the moment she received the call from national coach Stacey Marinkovich telling her she’d made the final 12.

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“I think there was obviously a bit of nerves around the phone call, and probably a little bit of talk around me and my selection so I was very nervous,” she said.

“It was just before we were going to Tassie for our final game (for Collingwood before the club folded) – I was actually driving at the time… probably not the safest time to do it!

“I didn’t think I would be as emotional as I was. I just burst into tears. I literally couldn’t even reply to Stacey to say thank you.

Sophie Garbin has been selected for her first Netball World Cup. Picture: Darrian Traynor
Sophie Garbin has been selected for her first Netball World Cup. Picture: Darrian TraynorSource: Getty Images

“A massive relief, gratitude as well – it’s something I’ve dreamt about for a long time.

“I knew there was a chance I could be going – I just wanted it so bad.

“The disappointment of having non selection for Commonwealth Games last year, you kind of know how the bad phone call goes – I was trying not to replay that in my head too much.

“It was so nice to be on the other side of the phone for the good phone call,” she laughed.

This month’s Cape Town tournament will mark Garbin’s World Cup debut, after she impressed in the recent Constellation Cup and Quad Series.

But the Magpies star came under constant criticism throughout the 2023 Super Netball season amid concerns over her form.

Garbin says she just blocked out the negativity knowing she was playing a different role to what was expected of her in a Diamonds environment.

“I feel like people obviously have an opinion of what (my best form) looks like and their perspective, but I wouldn’t say my confidence dipped completely,” she told Fox Netball.

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“I play a different role at Collingwood in goal attack and it’s a different role to what some of the other goal attacks play in other games.

“Shimmy (Nelson) is a big target in there… I know people are concerned about me not being confident to go to the post, but if we’ve got someone under there who can shoot them from right under the post, why wouldn’t I guarantee that ball going to her?

“I think people often listen to what the commentators are saying and what every one else is saying and jump on it, thinking I’m lacking confidence.

“Even going into that goal attack role, I feel like people had very high expectations of me.

“I definitely play a different role when I am out there in goal attack and people probably see the final product and see the stats on shooting but probably don’t recognise the work that I do out in front and the strength I bring to goal attack in the second phase.

“I think that was my role at Collingwood to be a strong option down the court and in that second phase of the centre pass.

“It’s just a different role. I’m still learning that goal attack role.

“At Collingwood I’m still getting that time in goal shooter – people don’t really see that but I’m still playing goal shooter at training.

Collingwood star Sophie Garbin warms up. Picture: Albert PerezSource: Getty Images

“Getting time there, one-on-one, getting to post – people only see the 60 minutes of SSN but there’s still a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes. In the training environment I’m still getting that touch point at goal shooter and still making sure I’m executing those skills.”

Garbin is one of four attackers selected to represent Australia at the upcoming World Cup, alongside Sunshine Coast Lightning duo Cara Koenen and Steph Wood, and Melbourne Vixen Kiera Austin.

Wallam will travel with the team as one of three replacement players and could be called upon should a Diamonds’ player suffer a tournament-ending injury.

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