NSW athletes named in Diamonds Squad

Six NSW junior representatives have been selected in the Australian Diamonds Squad, including 2012 NSW 21/U teammates Paige Hadley and Gabi Simpson being called in as debutants.

2013 NSW Swift debutant Hadley has been selected in the 17-athlete squad with Swifts’ co-captain Kimberlee Green, as well as Erin Bell, Catherine Cox and Kimberley Ravaillion, with all six travelling to the Australian Institute of Sport at the end of the month to attend a selection camp from Wednesday 31 July to Saturday 3 August.

Upon receiving the call from Diamonds Head Coach Lisa Alexander on her inclusion, Hadley said she was over-the-moon with the news.

“I’m shocked, excited and can’t stop smiling!” Hadley said.

“My aim for this year was to get regular court time with the NSW Swifts and to gain selection in the Australian 21/U Team to contest the World Youth Cup in Glasgow.  To reach those two goals, and to now to be selected in the Australian Diamonds squad, just makes this an unbelievable year.”

As one of the key midcourt personnel to help mentor Hadley in her first full ANZ Championship season, Green said she couldn’t be prouder of her young teammate.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for Paige; she has been a mainstay for the Swifts this season and has performed extremely well in all three midcourt positions,” Green said.

“Not only is she a very talented athlete, but she works hard, wants to learn, and is still growing as a player so I see Paige being a Diamonds for many years to come.”

Speaking on her own selection, Green, who currently sits on 49 Test caps, is looking forward to the forthcoming Test Series.

“I’m hugely honoured to be selected in the Diamonds squad and to represent my sport and country.  My primary focus during the season is to perform at my best for the Swifts and hopefully this leads to further honours.”

“We have an exciting International schedule coming up and I’m looking forward to getting into camp with the squad to prepare for these two Test Series,” Green concluded.

The Diamonds will contest a five-test Constellation Cup series against the New Zealand Silver Ferns, starting Sunday 15 September in Invercargill, followed by a two-Test series against Malawi Queens.  Wollongong will host the first Malawi game on Wednesday 19 October – tickets are available for purchase tomorrow, Friday 19 July, from 9.00am via Ticketek.

Upon announcing the reduced-man squad, Alexander outlined the selection panel’s focus for the Australian Diamonds over the coming years.

“Our focus is on winning the gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and retaining our world championship title at the 2015 World Netball Cup in Sydney, so we have narrowed our focus on continuing to develop a high quality side,” Alexander said.

Along with Hadley, NSW junior representative Gabi Simpson has also been called into the squad as a debutant, while rising star Kimberley Ravaillion has retained her spot in the midcourt following her debut for the Diamonds earlier this year against England.

While the rest of the squad members continue with transition training, Hadley, Ravaillion and Simpson have been selected to represent Australia at next month’s World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland.

“Kim, Gabi and Paige all performed with maturity well beyond their years and thoroughly deserve their selections after consistent performances this season against the world’s best netballers in the ANZ Championships,” Alexander said.

2013 Australian Diamonds Squad
Caitlin Bassett – West Coast Fever/WA
Erin Bell* – Adelaide Thunderbirds/NSW
Madison Browne – Melbourne Vixens/VIC
Rebecca Bulley – Adelaide Thunderbirds/VIC
Tegan Caldwell – Melbourne Vixens/VIC
Bianca Chatfield – Melbourne Vixens/VIC
Julie Corletto  – Northern Mystics/VIC
Catherine Cox* – West Coast Fever/NSW
Laura Geitz – Queensland Firebirds/QLD
Kimberlee Green* – NSW Swifts /NSW
Paige Hadley* – NSW Swifts/NSW
Renae Hallinan – Adelaide Thunderbirds/VIC
Sharni Layton – Adelaide Thunderbirds /VIC
Natalie Medhurst – Queensland Firebirds/SA
Kimberley Ravaillion* – Queensland Firebirds/NSW
Gabi Simpson* – Queensland Firebirds/NSW
Caitlin Thwaites – Central Pulse/VIC
*denotes NSW junior