You last saw your Australian Diamonds team up on the podium wearing a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Since then we have seen an exciting season of Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) with the nation’s best players competing for selection for the upcoming International Test Series.
Just a week before the team announcement, Diamonds’ champion Laura Geitz called time on her international career. The next day, one of Australia’s best wing attacks Madi Robinson followed suit and announced her retirement. Three days later, a much loved goaler for the Diamonds in Susan Pettitt joined the retirement club too.
— Liz Ellis (@LizzyLegsEllis) July 11, 2018
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander works with national selectors Michelle Wilkins and Annie Sargeant to make sure they’re bringing the right squad to the court. With three big names departing the Diamonds, it makes room for fresh talent to join the bench.
Alexander named the 17 strong squad on Sunday afternoon, with former Diamond Renae Ingles in a shock return to the national line up. Ingles retired last year to follow husband Joe to Utah where he plays for National Basketball Association. Back in Melbourne she recently joined the Melbourne Vixens and after a handful of SSN games finds herself back in the Diamonds’ squad. She joins three other new faces in midcourter Jamie Lee Price from the Giants, Swifts’ defender Sarah Klau and midcourter Jess Anstiss from the Fever. Diamonds fans will well and truly recognise the rest of the squad with nine players from the Commonwealth Games grand final lineup. The hope is that the fresh new faces and the experience of Ingles could restore the Diamonds’ shine after losing gold to England in April.
Up until the grand final match, the Diamonds were unstoppable. They were fresh and ready to go with any starting seven combination maintaining their style of game and they continued to find space in each match. Then came the England Roses, who clogged up the space and stole the gold medal with seconds left on the clock, defeating the Aussies 52-51.
The silver medallists remain number one in the world, a ranking Alexander wants to protect, naming a squad which has plenty of experience in the green and gold but giving newcomers the chance to prove why they should be in the team. She has chosen to play more defensive midcourters in the likes of Gabi Simpson, Kate Moloney, Renae Ingles and Jamie Lee Price, all proven to be solid wing defence players, while Liz Watson is looking to be the sole wing attack. Questions have been raised on social media though whether the selectors have made the right decision mainly surrounding the names Layton and Brazil missing out and Ravillion keeping her spot.
The final team will be named after the SSN Grand Final on August 31 and the new look Diamonds will face their first challenge two weeks later when they take on South Africa in the start of the International Test Series. This will be the fifth Quad Series, played by four of the five highest ranked nations in netball: Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. Australia will open their series against South Africa Spar Proteas in Auckland on September 15th and will then face England for the first time since the gold medal match in April the following week.
View the full squad below from the Australian Diamond’s offical twitter page.
Head Coach Lisa Alexander has announced the 17-strong squad for the 2018 Quad Series and Constellation Cup in Australia and New Zealand, this Sept and Oct.
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— Samsung Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) July 15, 2018