NSW well-represented for Diamonds’ England Tour

Netball Australia has today confirmed four New South Wales athletes have been selected for the Australian Diamonds tour of England in January 2016.

World Champions Paige Hadley has been included in the 12-man team alongside her Constellation Cup teammates April Letton and Gabi Simpson, with Kristiana Manu’a selected as training partner for the three-Test tours.

Hadley’s NSW Swifts teammates Sharni Layton, Caitlin Thwaites and Stephanie Wood have also been included in the Green & Gold, with Wood also selected a training partner with Manu’a.

Australian selectors have continued the national team’s evolution with the January Tour side. Uncapped Melbourne Vixen’s Liz Watson has been selected in the team, which features six players from Australia’s Netball World Cup winning team, including Caitlin Bassett, Hadley, Renae Ingles, Layton, Natalie Medhurst and Thwaites.

Watson’s selection continues the Diamonds’ rejuvenation, which included the debuts of Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett, Ashleigh Brazill and Jo Weston during the recent Constellation Cup series, following key retirements of Julie Corletto, Kim Green and Rebecca Bulley after the World Cup.

“The national selectors and I feel that it’s important to continue to create opportunities and elite international experience for all of our National Squad athletes in preparation for benchmark events such as the Commonwealth Games in 2018 at the Gold Coast,” Alexander said.

“January’s tour of England will provide all athletes with the chance to benchmark themselves against world number three ranked England and demonstrate their ability to thrive on the international netball stage.”

Diamonds captain Laura Geitz and Kim Ravaillion, who made her international debut against England on the 2013 tour to England, have been rested for the tour while Erin Bell and Ash Brazill continue the rotations.

Just three players, Bassett, Ingles and April Letton, return to England following the Diamonds’ maiden series defeat to the Roses three years ago.

“The series three years ago provided our Diamonds program with the wake‐up call it needed to regain the world number one ranking,” Alexander said of the 3‐0 series loss.

“Lessons were learnt and we won’t be  making the same mistakes again so  we’ve selected our team in  November to ensure we give  our athletes the best physical and mental preparation for what’s expected to be a hard fought series.”

Along with Wood’s elevation to the Diamonds squad, former New South Wales defender Kristiana Manu’a has also been named as a touring partner following performances at Netball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.

With Geitz set to miss the series, Netball Australia has confirmed an acting‐Captain will be named for the three‐Test series against the England Roses ahead of the team’s departure on Wednesday  13 January, 2016.

Australian Diamonds team for 2016 England Tour
Caitlin Bassett (WA/West Coast Fever)
Paige Hadley (NSW/NSW Swifts)
Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) (VIC/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Sharni Layton (VIC/NSW Swifts)
April Letton (NSW/West Coast Fever)
Clare McMeniman (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
NatalieMedhurst (SA/West Coast Fever)
Gabi Simpson(NSW/Queensland Firebirds)
Caitlin Thwaites (VIC/NSW Swifts)
Gretel Tippett (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Liz Watson (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)
Jo Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)
Kristiana Manu’a (NSW/Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)*
Stephanie Wood (QLD/NSW Swifts)*
*Training partners. 

2016 Australian Diamonds Tour of England – Fixtures
Game 1 Wed 20 January England Roses v Aus Diamonds Echo Arena, Liverpool
Game 2 Fri 22 January England Roses v Aus Diamonds Copper Box Arena, London
Game 3 Sun 24 January England Roses v Aus Diamonds Copper Box Arena, London