Karyn Howarth, Tegan Caldwell and Ashleigh Brazill have been rewarded with national selection for the first time, the three providing fresh faces to the 22-player Diamonds squad announced today by Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander.
Howarth and Caldwell earned their places in the squad after the pair played a significant role in seeing the Vixens through to the 2012 ANZ Championship Grand Final, the inexperienced duo finishing the season as first choice shooters.
“I think there will be that sting of disappointment from their point of view for the team performance but individually they’ve really shown that they can mix it with the very best,” Alexander said of Caldwell and Howarth.
“When you look at the overall season we see the improvement and maturity they have shown in the world’s best domestic competition.”
Ashleigh Brazill’s decision to move west and join coach Norma Plummer’s West Coast Fever for the 2012 ANZ Championship season has been validated with her inclusion in the Australian Diamonds squad after leading her team in goal assists (124) and intercepts (20).
A member Australian FastNet Diamond for the 2010 and 2011 World Netball Series and a previous Australian Diamonds Squad Camp invitee, Brazill attends this year’s selection camp as a fully-fledged Diamond for the first time.
“I think Ashleigh (Brazill) certainly burst onto the scene this year, she’s had some fantastic performances, particularly against New Zealand opposition,” the Diamonds coach said.
“At the end of the day, Australia doesn’t play Australia, we’re playing New Zealand, England and South Africa this year so we need to be mindful of that as selectors and we’re very pleased with the development Ashleigh has taken.”
The Melbourne Vixens have been rewarded for their 2012 ANZ Championship Grand Final appearance with five players named in the Australian Diamonds squad with Howarth and Caldwell to be joined by Bianca Chatfield, Julie Corletto and Madison Browne.
The Adelaide Thunderbirds, who were eliminated for the 2012 Finals Series by the eventual premiers, Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, in the semi-finals boast six players selected in the 22-player squad. Thunderbirds’ new recruits Rebecca Bulley and Renae Hallinan again gained selected following impressive performances despite their new surroundings and will be joined by Erin Bell, Emily Beaton, Sharni Layton and Diamonds captain Natalie von Bertouch.
Along with Brazill, the West Coast Fever see four players included in the squad with Catherine Cox, Caitlin Bassett and Susan Fuhrmann all returning to the national team fold after playing key roles in last year’s World Netball Championship crown.
Both the NSW Swifts and Queensland Firebirds have three players each joining the Diamonds camp while the Central Pulse’s Caitlin Thwaites remains the only Australian player based in a New Zealand franchise to be included.
“At the end of the day, it’s not just about the team performances, it is individual potential to improve and how those players are going to maximise their talents in the Diamonds environment,” Alexander said.
“It’s not just about who plays well in finals, it’s also about past international performances which we have to take into account, people play differently in a different environment also some players have been playing out of position, compared to where they would be in the Diamonds.
“There’s some new blood in the squad that is going to keep people on their toes as the squad needs to keep on improving.”
The 22-player squad will attend a national selection camp at the Australian Institute of Sport from August 8 – 11 where a team for this year’s 2012 Holden Netball Test Series will be announced at the conclusion of the camp.
The 2012 Holden Netball Test Series will see the Australian Diamonds take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns in a three-Test Constellation Cup followed by a six-Test Quad-Series featuring New Zealand, England and South Africa.
2012 Australian Diamonds Squad:
Caitlin Bassett (West Coast Fever), Emily Beaton (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Erin Bell (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Ashleigh Brazill (West Coast Fever) , Madison Browne (Melbourne Vixens), Rebecca Bulley (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Tegan Caldwell (Melbourne Vixens), Bianca Chatfield (Melbourne Vixens), Julie Corletto (Melbourne Vixens), Catherine Cox (West Coast Fever), Susan Fuhrmann (West Coast Fever), Laura Geitz (Queensland Firebirds), Mo’onia Gerrard (NSW Swifts), Kimberlee Green (NSW Swifts), Renae Hallinan (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Karyn Howarth (Melbourne Vixens), Sharni Layton (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Natalie Medhurst (Queensland Firebirds), Chelsea Pitman (Queensland Firebirds), Susan Pratley (NSW Swifts), Caitlin Thwaites (Central Pulse), Natalie von Bertouch (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
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