Dynamic defender Sharni Layton will head up the leadership group for the Australian Diamonds when they travel to South Africa and England for the 2017 Netball Quad Series in January and February.
Layton will take on the role of Captain for the series, which sees the Diamonds travel to Durban and London to defend their title against England, New Zealand and South Africa.
The leadership group, which follows the pregnancy of Laura Geitz and retirement of Clare McMeniman, also sees experienced shooter Caitlin Thwaites take on the position of Vice-Captain for the tour with midcourter Kim Ravaillion also elevated.
“Our leadership group is a reflection of Leading Teams processand will each bring their unique style and continue to strength the Sisters in Arms trademark” said Coach Lisa Alexander.
Two debutants will also be given their opportunity with young defender Courtney Bruce being named in the Australian Squad for the first time and skillful midcourter Caitlyn Nevins also called into the team for her maiden tour.
“Selection was based on performances throughout the year, including at squad camps,” explained Alexander. “Our athletes have done their preparation work and we are confident in the strength and combinations within this team.”
“Courtney put out very strong performances for West Coast Fever this year, and it was unfortunate that an injury kept her off the court in the latter part of the season. We have also been impressed with Caitlyn’s consistent performances determination and her ability against the New Zealand style of play”
Veteran shooter Susan Pettitt, who has 54 Test caps after making her Australian debut in 2006, returns to the Australian Team for the first time since 2013.
“It will be a positive outcome for our team to have Susan’s level of experience from the ANZ Championship court and previous international outings and her already well-established combinations with many of the team members, said Alexander.
The team boasts a mixture of experienced and less-capped players, who will all be under consideration for selection for Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup LIVERPOOL 2019, according to Coach Lisa Alexander.
“Our team reflects the squad; a high-quality group of athletes with a range of experience and skill. Every time we step out onto court in green and gold is a step closer in our journey to our benchmark events in 2018 and 2019.
“All selection decisions are centred on our athletes’ individualised plans. For some of our more experienced athletes it’s about longevity, in saying that, this tour is a great opportunity to highlight our strengths right across our squad and ensure there are strong connections between our athletes, no matter who is on court,” said Alexander.
Emily Mannix and Kate Shimmin will travel with the team as training partners.
Australian Diamonds 2017 Netball Quad Series Team
Name (state of origin/2017 national netball league team)
Courtney Bruce (Western Australia, West Coast Fever)
April Brandley (New South Wales, Magpies Netball)
Paige Hadley (New South Wales, NSW Swifts)
Sharni Layton (Victoria, Magpies Netball)
Caitlyn Nevins (Victoria, Queensland Firebirds)
Susan Pettitt (New South Wales, GIANTS Netball)
Kim Ravaillion (New South Wales, Magpies Netball)
Gabi Simpson (New South Wales, Queensland Firebirds)
Caitlin Thwaites (Victoria, Magpies Netball)
Gretel Tippett (Queensland, Queensland Firebirds)
Jo Weston (Victoria, Melbourne Vixens)
Stephanie Wood (Queensland, Sunshine Coast Lightning)
|2017 Netball Quad Series Fixture|
|Saturday 28 January||Australian Diamonds||New Zealand Silver Ferns||TBC||Durban, RSA|
|Saturday 28 January||South Africa Spar Proteas||England Roses||TBC||Durban, RSA|
|Tuesday 31 January||South Africa Spar Proteas||Australian Diamonds||TBC||Durban, RSA|
|Thursday 2 February||England Roses||New Zealand Silver Ferns||Echo Arena, Liverpool||Liverpool, ENG|
|Sunday 5 February||England Roses||Australian Diamonds||The SSE Arena Wembley||London, ENG|
|Sunday 5 February||New Zealand Silver Ferns||South Africa Spar Proteas||The SSE Arena Wembley||London, ENG|