Experienced names dominate Australian 21/U squad

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A wealth of international experience highlights the make-up of this year’s 21/U Australian squad, named at the conclusion of the National Championships in Adelaide.

Eight members of Australia’s 21/U side that won a silver medal at last year’s World Youth Netball Cup are returning this year, headlined by Australian Diamonds midcourter Kim Ravaillion.

Australian 21/U coach Tania Obst said the selectors were impressed by the quality of matches at the 21/U titles, which made choosing the squad difficult.

“There’s been lot of healthy and robust discussions among the selectors and I’m very impressed with the 22 names we’ve put together,” Obst said.

“If any of these athletes are named in the Australian Diamonds team for this year’s Commonwealth Games, which is being announced in May, we will select replacement players.

“There are a number of athletes who have played this week at the 21/U national titles who are still eligible for the 19/U titles in Melbourne next month, so there’s going to be some very talented athletes also available for selection in the national squad for that age group.

“Our High Performance Player Pathway looks very healthy in 2014.”

The squad of 22 also features 11 athletes currently on ANZ Championship lists, including Gia Abernathy and Taylah Davies, both called up as replacement players by the Adelaide Thunderbirds and NSW Swifts respectively.

The 21/U squad will attend a selection trial between 14-16 September at the new Netball Centre of Excellence at the AIS Canberra campus, which coincides with an Australian Diamonds training camp.

A week-long tour of New Zealand is also planned in late September and October.

“Gaining international experience in this age group is critical,” Obst said.

“For those girls who represented Australia at the World Youth Cup last year, we’ll be looking for them to continue to develop on the international stage,” Obst said.

The Australian 21/U squad is: Gia Abernathy (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Kelly Altmann (SA), Kristina Brice (NSW), Courtney Bruce (WA/West Coast Fever), Taylah Davies (NSW/NSW Swifts), Beryl Friday (QLD), Sarah Klau (SA), Cody Lange (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Chelsea Lemke (SA), Madeline McAuliffe (QLD), Emily Mannix (VIC), Kristiana Manu’a (NSW), Kate Moloney (VIC/Melbourne Vixens), Madeleine Proud (SA/Adelaide Thunderbirds), Kim Ravaillion (NSW/Queensland Firebirds), Kaylia Stanton (WA/West Coast Fever), Gretel Tippett (QLD/NSW Swifts), Maddy Turner (SA), Georgie Virgo (SA), Chloe Watson (VIC), Elizabeth Watson (VIC/Melbourne Vixens), Joanna Weston (VIC/Melbourne Vixens).