Diamonds Name Experienced World Cup Team
The Australian Diamonds have named an experienced and versatile team for the upcoming Netball World Cup Sydney 2015 with seven players returning from the side that won the title four years ago.
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has announced the 12-player team, which includes a combined 451 Test appearances and nine World Cup titles, at the Sydney Opera House.
Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Julie Corletto, Laura Geitz, Kimberlee Green, Sharni Layton and Natalie Medhurst were all members of the Diamonds team that dramatically won gold at the 2011 Netball World Cup in Singapore courtesy of a goal in the last second of extra-time against New Zealand.
Alexander and national selectors made three changes to the Australian team that last year ended the country’s 12-year Commonwealth Games gold medal drought with Bell, Rebecca Bulley and Paige Hadley included for Madi Robinson (injured), Bianca Chatfield (retired) and Tegan Philip.
Bell, who made her international debut against Samoa in the opening game of the 2011 World Cup, has been recalled to the Diamonds after she missed Commonwealth Games selection last year.
Hadley, one of eight players in the side who contested last Sunday’s thrilling ANZ Championship Grand between the Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts, is a surprise selection after being left out of the initial 18-player Diamonds squad. The 22-year-old has two international Test appearances after making her debut against Malawi in 2013 before a knee injury ended her season last year.
Renae Hallinan will finally get her opportunity to represent Australia at a Netball World Cup after missing selection in 2011. With 57 Tests to her name, the 28-year-old is currently the most capped Diamonds player of all-time to not have played in a World Cup.
It will also be the first World Cup campaign for the experienced defender Bulley, who was first part of an Australian squad in 2005.
“This Diamonds selection process was nothing short of the most difficult in my coaching career, such is the high level of performance from the athletes this year, however the selectors and I are confident this is the team to win the Netball World Cup,” Alexander said.
“The 12 athletes selected will bring great versatility, huge competitiveness and a capacity to keep improving as a team together. This is what will be required to compete at this World Cup which will be the most challenging tournament in history.”
Along with the team to contest the World Cup, the Diamonds unveiled their new BLK playing dress. The striking green and gold kit is designed for high performance netball.