AUSTRALIAN Diamonds captain Laura Geitz is delighted by the look of the team she’ll lead to Glasgow in July aiming to win Australia’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal in 12 years.
The team was announced at Parliament House in Canberra this afternoon and contains seven players who will represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games for the first time – Caitlin Bassett, Tegan Caldwell, Julie Corletto, Sharni Layton, Kim Ravaillion, Madi Robinson and Caitlin Thwaites.
Geitz, who is attending her second Commonwealth Games having been part of the silver medal-winning side in 2010, said it was a tough selection process but is pleased with the team she and coach Lisa Alexander will lead.
“Lisa and the other two selectors (Anne Sargeant and Michelle Wilkins) had incredibly hard job and I know they really spent a lot of time making sure they got the 12 that they wanted,” Geitz said.
“It is a fantastic group. There’s a great vibe and it’s a group capable of bring home that gold medal. But in saying that, we’ve got only 11 or 12 weeks to go and there’s still a lot of work that we need to get through to make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders and capable of getting that gold medal.”
Caldwell is the only member of the side yet to make her Australian debut and the Melbourne Vixens goaler said having been part of the squad for the past two years, it was a nervous time waiting for the team to be read out.
Caldwell said she was determined to put her best foot forward during the three match play trials and thrilled to be given the nod.
“I knew that if I played well they (selectors) would have to consider me at least. That was my aim, go out and play really and leave it up to them in the end,” Caldwell said.
“It was a good result in the end.
Australian vice-captain Bianca Chatfield, who is also the Vixens skipper, said she was “absolutely rapt” to see Caldwell get picked.
“I said to Tegan, I think it was last year, that I really wanted her to make her the Diamonds while I was still playing because I wanted to be able to experience and enjoy that with her. So I’m over the moon that she’s in the side and gets to experience going to the Comm Games.
“Just to make the Australian team in general is a huge feat, but for her to do it and the way she has is so exciting for her. But I think she has earned it.
“You’ve got take your opportunities when you get them and they’ve picked a very versatile team – it’s up to us what we do with it.”
Chatfield was part of the Australian team who won a silver medal at Melbourne in 2006 but missed out on a spot in the line-up four years later.
“It was disappointing four years ago so nice to be back in it and I just want to go and get that gold medal.”
Injuries have denied Corletto the chance to represent Australia for the past 12 months and she said she came across to the selection camp in good shape and determined to show her value to the team.
“That was my aim, to make sure that I was coming into this selection camp being able to play and not being restricted by any part of my body not behaving,” Corletto said.
“So I’m really excited. It’s my first Commonwealth Games so just stoked and I’ll be working hard leading up to going over to Glasgow.”
Thwaites said it’s “amazing” to be in the 12.
“All of the girls are so inspiring and it’s a great culture we’ve been working on for the last couple of years, doing lots of team building stuff but also instilling the values of where we want to be and where we want to go,” Thwaites said.
“I’m very excited. I feel like I’ve been aiming for this for very long time. To finally be named in the team, I know it’s just the start of all the hard work.”
Robinson said it’s a satisfying feeling having narrowly missed out on selection in Australia’s 2011 world championship side.
“So I’m looking forward to journey ahead. It’s an awesome team and deserved their positions because everyone fought hard over the last few days.
“It was really three ANZ Champs games in two days because you’re playing against the best in Australia and every opponent is tough so you’ve got to be up there with your `A-game’.”
Ravaillion is the youngest player in the side and will turn 21 on the day of Australia’s opening pool match against England on July 26.
“I’m so excited. It’s been one of my goals for two years and I’m overwhelmed,” Ravaillion said.