Time for our Diamonds to sparkle

_MCA7411LiAustralia’s best netballers are heading to Canberra for what shapes as three intense days of training under the watchful eyes of national selectors to pick the Commonwealth Games team.

The selection trials are being held at the new Centre of Excellence for netball at the Australian Institute of Sport with the final team of 12 to be named by Australian coach Lisa Alexander on Wednesday afternoon.

NSW Swifts midcourter Abbey McCulloch has been added to the list of invitees that will provide additional support to the 18-player squad for the three match play trials, which get underway tomorrow morning.

McCulloch joins Melbourne Vixens’ Kate Moloney and Queensland Firebirds trio Jacinta Messer, Clare McMeniman and Verity Simmons as the invitees.

Australia is looking to win its first Commonwealth Games gold medal since 2002 at Glasgow later this year.

NSW Swifts captain Kimberlee Green said she expects competition to be tough to earn one of the coveted 12 spots to be on the team heading to Glasgow in July.

“For Lisa (Alexander) and the selectors the tough part for them is they’ve got to try and find combinations that work the best,” Green said.

“Everyone is concentrating on that first match play and getting that out of the way. We’ve got a few new faces, we’ll have a squad meeting at the beginning of the camp and have a chat about what playing for Australia is all about.

“I can’t wait to meet all the new girls.”

The Australian Diamonds squad is: Karyn Bailey (Melbourne Vixens), Caitlin Bassett (West Coast Fever), Erin Bell (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Rebecca Bulley (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Tegan Caldwell (Melbourne Vixens), Bianca Chatfield (Melbourne Vixens), Julie Corletto (Northern Mystics), Kimberlee Green (NSW Swifts), Laura Geitz (Queensland Firebirds), Renae Hallinan (Aelaide Thunderbirds), Sharni Layton (NSW Swifts), Natalie Medhurst (West Coast Fever), Susan Pratley (NSW Swifts), Kim Ravaillion (Queensland Firebirds), Madi Robinson (Melbourne Vixens), Gabi Simpson (Queensland Firebirds), Caitlin Thwaites (NSW Swifts), Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens). Invitees: Clare McMeniman (Queensland Firebirds), Abbey McCulloch (NSW Swifts), Jacinta Messer (Queensland Firebirds), Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens), Verity Simmons (Queensland Firebirds).