Veteran shooter Catherine Cox is in line to become just the fourth player in Australian netball history to record 100 Test appearances following her selection in the Australian Diamonds team for the 2012 Holden Netball Test Series.
Cox, who needs to overcome a minor niggle, needs just two more Test caps from the nine upcoming Tests to join Liz Ellis, Sharelle McMahon and Vicki Wilson as the only players to reach the century milestone in the national team’s 74-year history.
At the other end of the spectrum, the uncapped Ashleigh Brazill has been selected in her first Diamonds team and will get the opportunity to make her international debut during the coming international season after a stellar performance at selection camp.
“She’s a prodigious talent and I think she’s stepped up again this year and certainly her performances at this squad camp have been first class,” Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.
Alexander has included three additional players to the traditional 12 player team for next month’s three-Test Constellation Cup series against New Zealand and the Quad-Series featuring Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.
“It’s about ensuring that we’re giving our Diamonds as much exposure to international competition as possible in preparation for 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 World Netball Championships in Sydney,” Alexander said.
The team of 15 sees the return of Bianca Chatfield and Susan Pratley to the Diamonds team after the pair recieved their first Australia call up since the 2010 Commonwealth Games double overtime final loss to New Zealand in New Delhi, India.
Defender Susan Fuhrmann is the most notable omission from this year’s Diamonds team with Western Australian, a member of last year’s victorious World Netball Championship team, missing out on selection.
“I’ve known Susan quite closely now for a couple of years and she’s one incredible women in so many ways and it was a very tough decision,” Alexander said.
“We took every avenue and thoroughly discussed every scenario and gave Susan every opportunity but the sort of person she is, she took it on the chin and wished everyone well which shows the type of person that she is.”
Australian Diamonds team:
Natalie von Bertouch (captain)*, Catherine Cox (vice-captain)*, Caitlin Bassett (West Coast Fever), Erin Bell (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Ashleigh Brazill (West Coast Fever), Madison Browne (Melbourne Vixens), Rebecca Bulley (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Bianca Chatfield (Melbourne Vixens), Julie Corletto (Melbourne Vixens), Laura Geitz (Queensland Firebirds), Mo’onia Gerrard (NSW Swifts), Kimberlee Green (NSW Swifts), Natalie Medhurst (Queensland Firebirds), Chelsea Pitman (Queensland Firebirds), Susan Pratley (NSW Swifts).
*subject to fitness
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