The Commonwealth Games experience has arrived early for the Australian Diamonds squad.
While the Games are still months away, 23 squad members and invitees have arrived in Canberra for a specially-designed Commonwealth Games `Simulation Camp’ that shapes as a key part of the team’s preparations for Glasgow.
The squad will play four practice matches at exactly the same times they’re scheduled to be on court for their preliminary matches at the Commonwealth Games. The first hit out is at 11.30am Thursday 30 January, the scheduled starting time for Australia’s opening match of the Games against Wales on 24 July.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander said the idea of the camp is to get players used to what will be expected of them over the Commonwealth Games campaign.
“We want to make sure we get everything right to replicate for the athletes exactly what the experience will be like at the Commonwealth Games,” Alexander said.
“The matches will be four 15-minute quarters but we’ll also need to practice for extra time scenarios – and there could also be a few other surprises so the athletes will need to be ready for anything.
“We’ve got a big second round game against England, so we’ve got to be sure we’re mentally switched on and ready to go.”
Alexander said she expects each scratch game to be played at a high intensity.
The Diamonds squad of 18 will be joined by five invitees – Ashleigh Brazill, Emily Beaton, Courtney Bruce, Gretel Tippett and Joanna Weston – who Alexander said had a great opportunity to push their case for selection over the next five days.
“The athletes will understand that after this camp they will have to be reselected in the (Commonwealth Games) squad, which we will name after Round 7 (of the ANZ Championship),” Alexander said.
The Diamonds squad is: Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Madison Browne, Rebecca Bulley, Tegan Caldwell, Bianca Chatfield, Julie Corletto, Catherine Cox, Laura Geitz, Kimberlee Green, Paige Hadley, Renae Hallinan, Sharni Layton, Demelza McCloud, Natalie Medhurst, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites.