Captain Laura Geitz has been rested while uncapped Liz Watson gets her chance in the Australian Diamonds netball squad for the three-Test tour to England in January.
Coach Lisa Alexander named six members of her recent World Cup winning squad – Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Thwaites – as the core of the 12-player tour squad.
The decision to rest Geitz and Kim Ravaillion along with Watson’s selection continue Alexander’s moves to rejuvenate the team in the wake of the World Cup triumph in Sydney.
It follows the recent debuts of Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett, Ashleigh Brazill and Jo Weston in the drawn Constellation Cup series against New Zealand, following key retirements of Julie Corletto, Kim Green and Rebecca Bulley.
“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.
Just three players, Bassett, Renee Ingles and April Letton, will be returning to England from the Diamonds’ first series defeat by the Roses – 3-0 – there three years ago.
“The series three years ago provided our Diamonds program with the wake-up call it needed to regain the world No.1 ranking,” Alexander said.
“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.”
Diamonds tour squad: Caitlin Bassett, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles, Sharni Layton, April Letton, Clare McMeniman, Natalie Medhurst, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston. Training partners: Kristiana Manua (NSW), Stephanie Wood (QLD).
Tour of England
First Test: Jan 20, Echo Arena, Liverpool
Second Test: Jan 22, Copper Box Arena, London
Third Test: Jan 24, Copper Box Arena, London