Firebirds dominate Diamonds team for New Zealand

2015 ANZ Championship ANZ Grand Final Queensland Firebirds v NSW Swifts Queensland Firebird's Team celebrate with Trophy

The 2015 ANZ Championship premiers dominate the Australian Diamonds for the opening two Tests of the Constellation Cup with five Queensland Firebirds named in the 12-player team.

Captain Laura Geitz will lead Australia into its Constellation Cup defence alongside teammates Kim Ravaillion, debutants Gabi Simpson and Gretel Tippett, and Clare McMeniman, who has been recalled to the Diamonds.

Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke will be the first Australian ANZ Championship coach to join the Diamonds in a support coaching role for the New Zealand leg of the Constellation Cup.

Simpson, Tippett and McMeniman will fill the three positions vacated following the retirements of defenders Julie Corletto and Rebecca Bulley, and the international retirement of vice-captain Kim Green, after the World Cup.

The trio join the nine remaining members of the Diamonds’ World Cup winning team – Geitz, Ravaillion, Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Paige Hadley, Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan), Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Thwaites, along with specialist attack coach Marg Caldow.

“With the first two Tests over in New Zealand, it’s important that we make a positive start to establish momentum for the rest of the series in Melbourne and Perth,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.

The Diamonds will head to New Zealand on Saturday morning for the first two Tests in Christchurch (Tuesday 20 October) and Auckland (Thursday 22 October) with five shooters, four midcourters and three defenders.

Alexander and national selectors, who named an extended 15-player squad for this year’s four-Test Constellation Cup series, will name separate teams for the remaining two Test matches in Australia after the second Test.

Melbourne Vixens coach Simone McKinnis will join the Diamonds in the support coaching role for the remaining two Tests of the Constellation Cup.

The Diamonds extended 15-player squad will arrive in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon for a three-day camp prior to the team’s departure for New Zealand on Saturday.

The Constellation Cup series will be the first time that the Diamonds have taken the court since defeating the Silver Ferns by three goals to win a third consecutive Netball World Cup title at Allphones Arena in August.

Limited tickets are still available for the Melbourne and Perth Tests from Ticketek. Purchase online at www.ticketek.com.au, phone 132 849 or any Ticketek outlet.

Australian Diamonds for 2015 Constellation Cup – New Zealand Leg:
NAME (state of origin/ANZ Championship team)

Caitlin Bassett (WA/West Coast Fever)
Erin Bell (NSW/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Laura Geitz (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Paige Hadley (NSW/NSW Swifts)
Renae Ingles (nee Hallinan) (VIC/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Sharni Layton (VIC/NSW Swifts)
Clare McMeniman (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Natalie Medhurst (SA/West Coast Fever)
Kim Ravaillion (NSW/Queensland Firebirds)
Gabi Simpson (NSW/Queensland Firebirds)
Caitlin Thwaites (VIC/NSW Swifts)
Gretel Tippett (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)