Team England legend Geva Mentor believes the Commonwealth Games is fundamental to the future of netball.

The first netballer to appear at six Commonwealth Games, the 39-year-old was a prominent member of the Team England side that soared to a historic gold in 2018.

Add that to her bronze medals from Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010 and Mentor has a unique insight into the value of the Games.

After stepping away from international duty last year, Mentor spoke candidly about its importance to the sporting landscape, with the ability to shine a light on sports such as netball.

"The Commonwealth Games has really elevated our sport, and to come away from the Games in 2018 with the gold medal was huge for netball," she told The Yorkshire Post.

"To come away from that and build a platform was massive for us.

"The concern now is with the Commonwealth Games in jeopardy and there being no funding in place."

A survey conducted by Sport England found that netball saw a staggering growth in popularity following gold at the 2018 Games, with a further 50,200 people participating in the sport in May 2019 compared to the previous year.

And with the above numbers to back her, Mentor believes that the Games are of key importance to netball. 

"It would be such a shame to lose [the Games] having been part of six," she added.

"I can see the benefit it has not just for the athletes but for the community as well, the exposure for other sports and the connections you build through other sports.

"The fact you can bring not just venues and accommodation, but also job opportunities for the community plus that exposure for the different local athletes that come on board, the tourism that comes because of that.

"It's making sure netball still has that outlet, because it’s looking more and more challenging to make an Olympic campaign because we are a team sport with the financial restraints on that.

"It’s a sport that’s not known around the world and that’s the influence you can have on the smaller nations who are picking up netball for the first time."

The Commonwealth Games, often referred to as the 'Friendly Games', has brought England Netball some of its greatest moments - including an historic victory on the Gold Coast in 2018 as Helen Housby's final shot fired England to a 52-51 win over hosts Australia.

And with the future of the Games still uncertain, Mentor now looks back on her time in the Team England dress with fondness.

"It is an amazing event to be a part of and I am a big advocate for it," she said.

"Being able to reach a broader audience is amazing and I have had so many wonderful experiences, the team village and the lifestyle but also the performance side - it is the Friendly Games but there is that sense of competitiveness."