Best could be yet to come for Geva Mentor despite an already tenured international netball career

·3-min read
Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games - Glasgow, Scotland - 3/8/14 
Netball - Romelda Aiken of Jamaica and Geva Mentor of England in the Bronze medal Womens Netball 
Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding 
Livepic 
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Commonwealth Games - Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games - Glasgow, Scotland - 3/8/14 Netball - Romelda Aiken of Jamaica and Geva Mentor of England in the Bronze medal Womens Netball Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Paul Harding Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

By James Toney in Birmingham

Geva Mentor thought she'd seen it all in a two-decade international netball career, but she admits the best could be yet to come.

Mentor made her Roses debut at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, won bronzes in Melbourne and Delhi and was part of the famous gold medal winning team on the Gold Coast in 2018.

However, the 37-year-old - who will earn her 159th cap in Saturday's semi-finals - claims nothing would top a win in Birmingham this weekend.

Mentor played a starring role as England beat world champions New Zealand by ten points in their last group game to secure a final four meeting with world number ones Australia, who were stunned by Jamaica's Sunshine Girls.

She went toe-to-toe with the Silver Ferns star goal shooter Grace Nweke, 17 years her junior, and put her in her pocket, a masterclass defensive performance according to admiring coach Jess Thirlby.

"Age is just a number but for me it's nice to be able to go out and maybe some of my experience helps," said Mentor.

"How bloody exciting, if we can get the job done in Australia on Saturday and Jamaica can beat New Zealand, it would be a final we've never seen before, that's so refreshing and exciting for netball."

Before their win on the Gold Coast, England's Roses and Jamaica had traditionally slugged it out for the bronze medal at these Games but perhaps there is a new netball world order to disrupt that Anzac spirit.

Helen Housby's dramatic last gasp shot for glory in the Gold Coast meant netball was always one of the hottest tickets at these Games.

And Australia have made no secret they are out to avenge losing so dramatically on home soil, so don't expect a friendly game at the Friendly Games.

No team has ever lost a match in the group stages and won gold while England have lost, drawn and won their last three games against the 11-time world champion Diamonds.

"They'll go away and do their homework, I know how hard they'll view the game and I expect them to be licking their wounds," added Mentor.

"They'll think they know how to break us down and it'll be a really sharp contest out there.

"It's nice to know who your enemy is going to be. We were in and out of training while their game was going on against Jamaica,

"I didn't really mind who was going to come out on top of it. I just think it's exciting and I think we've set the tone and it opens for the possibility of a different final on Sunday.

"The crowd were phenomenal particularly when we were getting tips and turnovers. Thankfully, I'm not an attacker needing to finish it off at the other end because I think we'd get the wobbles otherwise.

"We are really going to utilise our home court advantage and hopefully that will get us over the line."

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