The Australian Diamonds selectors have named an experienced and versatile team for Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 with seven players returning from the side that won the title four years ago.
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander announced the 12-player team, which includes a combined 451 Test appearances and nine World Cup titles, at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday morning.
Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Julie Corletto, Laura Geitz, Kimberlee Green, Sharni Layton and Natalie Medhurst were all members of the Diamonds team that dramatically won gold at the 2011 Netball World Cup courtesy of a goal in the last second of extra-time against the Silver Ferns.
"This Diamonds selection process was nothing short of the most difficult in my coaching career, such is the high level of performance from the athletes this year, however the selectors and I are confident this is the team to win the Netball World Cup,” coach Alexander said.
“The 12 athletes selected will bring great versatility, huge competitiveness and a capacity to keep improving as a team together. This is what will be required to compete at this World Cup which will be the most challenging tournament in history.”
Alexander and national selectors made three changes to the Australian team that last year ended the country's 12-year Commonwealth Games gold medal drought with Bell, Bulley and Paige Hadley included for Madi Robinson (injury), Bianca Chatfield (retired) and Tegan Philip.
Bell, who made her international debut against Samoa in the opening game of the 2011 World Cup, has been recalled to the Diamonds after she missed Commonwealth Games selection last year.
22-year-old Hadley, one of eight players who contested the thrilling ANZ Championship Grand Final on Sunday, is a surprise selection after being left out of the initial 18-player Diamonds squad. Hadley has just two international Test appearances after she made her debut against Malawi in 2013 before a knee injury pre-maturely ended her season last year.
Renae Hallinan will finally get her opportunity to represent Australia at a Netball World Cup after missing selection in 2011. With 57 Tests to her name, the 28-year-old is currently the most capped Diamonds player of all-time to not have played in a World Cup.
Along with the team to contest the World Cup, the Diamonds unveiled their new BLK playing dress. The striking green and gold kit is designed for high performance netball.
Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 will be held at Sydney Olympic Park from August 7 – 16. The Diamonds begin their world cup campaign against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday 7 August at Allphones Arena. Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 will be broadcast in Australia on FOX SPORTS, Network TEN and via the Netball Live app, available from the App Store and Google Play. Tickets for the Netball World Cup are available from www.nwc2015.com.au/tickets.
Australian Diamonds team for Netball World Cup:
NAME (state of origin/ANZ Championship team)
Caitlin Bassett (WA/West Coast Fever)
Erin Bell (NSW/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Rebecca Bulley (VIC/Queensland Firebirds)
Julie Corletto (VIC/NSW Swifts)
Laura Geitz (QLD/Queensland Firebirds)
Kimberlee Green (NSW/NSW Swifts)
Paige Hadley (NSW/NSW Swifts)
Renae Hallinan (VIC/Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Sharni Layton (VIC/NSW Swifts)
Natalie Medhurst (SA/West Coast Fever)
Kim Ravaillion (NSW/Queensland Firebirds)
Caitlin Thwaites (VIC/NSW Swifts)