McMeniman given chance to shine with Diamonds

clare1Queensland’s Clare McMeniman headlines the Australian Diamonds 13-player squad for next month’s international Test Series against the New Zealand Silver Ferns and England Netball Team.

The 29-year-old international debutant, who came out of retirement earlier this season after spending two years out of the game, joins Rebecca Bulley as the only two inclusions to the Commonwealth Games winning team.

Following the international retirement of Bianca Chatfield after Glasgow, the pair will share the defensive responsibilities for the series, with Bulley contesting the first three Constellation Cup Tests before McMeniman joins the team for the last Test against the Silver Ferns and two Tests against England.

“The team’s performance at the Commonwealth Games was considered by selectors and we really can’t question what they delivered; all 12 players were sensational and operated extremely well, so we want to keep building on that because it is a relatively new group with Tegan (Caldwell) and Julie (Corletto),” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.

“We were forced to make one change following Bianca’s retirement so we decided to give Clare (McMeniman) and Rebecca (Bulley) an opportunity to show what they can do in this series in the lead up to the 2015 Netball World Cup.”

McMeniman retired from netball for two years after winning an ANZ Championship premiership in 2011 before being lured back to the court this season to re-join the Queensland Firebirds – playing all 16 games for the trans-Tasman runners-up.

The Queenslander, who was first named in the Diamonds squad in 2008, was elevated from invitee to official Australian squad member during the Diamonds squad camp in May.

“I think it’s going to be a fantastic opportunity for Clare, the way that she’s come back to netball and the season she had with the Firebirds this year really helped them get through to the ANZ Championship Grand Final,” Alexander said.

Australia Diamonds and the Malawi QueensGame 2After narrowly missing out on Australian Commonwealth Games selection for Glasgow 2014, Bulley returns to the Diamonds team after lining up in the green and gold during last year’s Test series against New Zealand and Malawi.

The Australian Diamonds get their Test series underway against the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Thursday 2 October at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.

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Australian Diamonds Team for International Netball Test Series:
(ANZ Championship team/state of origin)

Caitlin BASSETT (West Coast Fever/WA)
Rebecca BULLEY (Queensland Firebirds/VIC)*
Tegan CALDWELL (Melbourne Vixens/VIC)
Laura GEITZ (Queensland Firebirds/QLD)
Kimberlee GREEN (NSW Swifts/NSW)
Renae HALLINAN (Adelaide Thunderbirds/VIC)
Sharni LAYTON (NSW Swifts/VIC)
Clare McMENIMAN (Queensland Firebirds/QLD)^
Natalie MEDHURST (West Coast Fever/SA)
Kim RAVAILLION (Queensland Firebirds/NSW)
Madi ROBINSON (Melbourne Vixens/VIC)
Caitlin THWAITES (NSW Swifts/VIC)

*Bulley will play the first three Tests in Invercargill, Melbourne and Sydney.
^McMeniman will play the remaining three Tests in Auckland, Bendigo and Canberra.