Diamonds make two changes for Australian Tests

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The Australian Diamonds have made two changes to its team with captain Laura Geitz and Gabi Simpson making way for the uncapped duo of Ashleigh Brazill and Jo Weston for the remaining two Tests of the Constellation Cup.

Midcourter Brazill and defender Weston will join their Diamonds teammates in Melbourne when the team returns home holding a 2-0 series lead over New Zealand following victories in Christchurch and Auckland.

The 58-48 victory in Auckland on Thursday capped off a remarkable year for Geitz, who captained the Queensland Firebirds to a second ANZ Championship premiership and the Diamonds to the Netball World Cup title on home soil in August.

Simpson returns home with two international Test appearances to her name after the 23-year-old made her Diamonds debut in the 50-44 win over the Silver Ferns in the opening Test on Tuesday night in Christchurch.

“Player management is really important to ensure the performance and longevity of our athletes aren’t compromised as we move into a new high performance cycle ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.

“After such a big year on and off the court, the national selectors and I are mindful of our athletes’ physical and mental wellbeing, particularly those who contested the 2015 ANZ Championship Grand Final and Netball World Cup.

“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank Laura for the unwavering passion and dedication she brings to her leadership of the Diamonds and her role in guiding Australia to the Netball World Cup gold medal in Sydney.”

West Coast Fever’s Brazill is a step closer to making her long awaited international debut three years after injury forced the 25-year-old to withdraw from the Diamonds team ahead of the 2012 Test Series.

Melbourne Vixens defender Weston will be reunited with her Australian 21/U teammates Paige Hadley, Kim Ravaillion and Gretel Tippett, who won silver at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championship in Glasgow.

Renae Ingles, who missed the second Test with a calf strain, will assume the role of acting captain for the remainder of the Constellation Cup series subject to passing a fitness test ahead of game three on Sunday.

The 2015 Constellation Cup continues on Sunday when the Australian Diamonds host New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena before the series concludes with the fourth Test at Perth Arena on Friday. Watch live on ONE HD, Fox Sports or the Netball Live App.

Australian Diamonds for 2015 Constellation Cup – Australia Leg:

NAME (state of origin/ANZ Championship team)

Caitlin Bassett (WA/West Coast Fever)

Erin Bell (NSW/Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Ashleigh Brazill (NSW/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)

Natalie Medhurst (SA/West Coast Fever)

Kim Ravaillion (NSW/Queensland Firebirds)

Caitlin Thwaites (VIC/NSW Swifts)

Gretel Tippett (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)

Jo Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens)

*selection is subject to fitness