Australian defender Demelza McCloud has been called up to the Diamonds team for the final Constellation Cup Test against the New Zealand Silver Ferns after Sharni Layton failed to overcome a foot injury.
Layton strained her foot in the Diamonds match play on Friday night and was given until the last minute to prove her fitness ahead of today’s final match against the trans-Tasman rivals.
“We wanted to give Sharni every opportunity to be fit for this last game against New Zealand however, after consultation with our medical staff, we made the decision to focus on recovery to ensure her availability for the upcoming series against Malawi,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.
McCloud, who arrives into Canberra this morning, will make an extraordinary return to the green and gold for the first time since 2005.
The 33-year-old was initially named in the Diamonds team for the Malawi series, beginning in Wollongong on Wednesday, but will line up for Australia earlier than expected after fielding the last minute call on Saturday night.
The Queensland Firebird made eight international appearances for Australian between 2004-2005 before retiring in 2010.
McCloud’s stint on the sideline was short lived, making a brief appearance with the Melbourne Vixens 2010 as an injury replacement player, before returning full time to the ANZ Championship with the Southern Steel in 2012 followed by a move to the Firebirds in 2013.
The defender initially attended Diamonds selection camp in August as a training partner before being elevated into the squad.
The Australian Diamonds host the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the final Test of the 2013 Constellation Cup series at the AIS Arena in Canberra on Sunday. The last trans-Tasman international before next year’s Commonwealth Games will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS and SBS 2.
Tickets for the Diamonds Live Site are still available via Ticketek on www.ticketek.com.au, by phone on 132 849, and any Ticketek outlet.