Rookie named in Diamonds squad

2014 Round 4 ANZ Championship game - Vixens v MagicAustralian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has named debutant Elizabeth Watson in her 18-player squad to contest the Commonwealth Games selection camp in Canberra next month.

The 20-year-old Watson is the only new inclusion after national selectors opted to retain a reduced squad, who will vie for selection in the Australian Commonwealth Games Team ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Watson’s inclusion in the Diamonds squad caps off a remarkable year for the Victorian native after initially joining the Melbourne Vixens as a replacement player for the pregnant Elissa Kent (nee Macleod) in February.

“We think Liz (Watson) has been extremely consistent, going about her centre court play efficiently, which is terrific, and producing well-polished skills in attacking and defensive aspects of her game,” Alexander said.

The young midcourter’s performances over the last three weeks against world class opponents in the ANZ Championship, including England international Jade Clarke (Mainland Tactix) and Australian Diamonds’ Kim Ravaillion (Queensland Firebirds) and Kimberlee Green (NSW Swifts), impressed selectors.

“She’s had a good test out there on court this season against some quality opposition and she’s a big part of why the Vixens are on top of the ladder at the moment,” Alexander said.

2014 Round 3 ANZ Championship game - Thunderbirds v NSW SwiftsShooters Karyn Bailey and Susan Pratley both return to the Diamonds squad for the first time since 2012 after impressive starts to their ANZ Championship seasons with the Vixens and Swifts respectively.

Seeking Australia’s first Commonwealth Games netball gold medal since 2002 in Manchester, Alexander will name her 12-player team at the conclusion of the three-day selection camp at the Australian Institute of Sport from 5-7 May.

“We’re very pleased that we’ve got a strong 18-player squad and in general they’ve all been in consistent and solid form and doing what we want them to be doing at this stage which is terrific, particularly those who have been re-selected into the squad,” Alexander said.

“It’s all about who we believe have the best chances of selection at this stage through their performances in the ANZ Championship, plus past international considerations, and execution of the personal performance plans that we set at the start of the year.”

The squad will initially contest Commonwealth Games selection camp next month before regrouping later in the year for Australian Diamonds selection ahead of September and October’s international Test series.

Australia opens its 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games account against Wales on Thursday 24 July ahead of their remaining pool matches against England, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and South Africa.

2014 Australian Diamonds Squad

(ANZ Championship team/state of origin)

Karyn BAILEY (Melbourne Vixens/NT), Caitlin BASSETT (West Coast Fever/WA), Erin BELL (Adelaide Thunderbirds/NSW), Rebecca BULLEY (Adelaide Thunderbirds/VIC), Tegan CALDWELL (Melbourne Vixens/VIC), Bianca CHATFIELD (Melbourne Vixens/VIC), Julie CORLETTO (Northern Mystics/VIC), Laura GEITZ (Queensland Firebirds/QLD), Kimberlee GREEN (NSW Swifts/ NSW), Renae HALLINAN (Adelaide Thunderbirds/VIC), Sharni LAYTON (NSW Swifts/VIC), Natalie MEDHURST (West Coast Fever/SA), Susan PRATLEY (NSW Swifts/NSW), Kim RAVAILLION (Queensland Firebirds/NSW), Madi ROBINSON (nee BROWNE) (Melbourne Vixens/VIC), Gabi SIMPSON (Queensland Firebirds/NSW), Caitlin THWAITES (NSW Swifts/VIC), Elizabeth WATSON (Melbourne Vixens/VIC).