Netball Diamonds unchanged for Quad Series campaign
DIAMONDS coach Lisa Alexander believes when you are on a good thing stick to it when it comes to picking a side working towards defending Australia's World Cup title in the UK next year.
Alexander and selectors have opted to go with the same squad which won the recent Constellation Cup against New Zealand 3-1 for the next - and last - international series before the netball World Cup in Liverpool in July, 2019.
And if the majority of these players force their way into the World Cup team, the Diamonds will bear little resemblance to the side which won the last event back in 2015.
Alexander has named all 13 players from the recent Constellation Cup to travel to the UK in January for the annual Quad series against Commonwealth Games champions England, New Zealand and South Africa.
While Alexander will leave open the possibility of other players being able to force their way into the team on the back of top performances in Super Netball which starts in April, this touring team will form the basis of the side bidding to defend their world title in the UK later in the year.
Both Victorian Kate Maloney and Sydney netballer Jamie-Lee Price have made the cut with the pair bought into the recent Constellation Cup team to replace Kim Ravaillon after the veteran midcourter advised Netball Australia of her decision to step away from the Diamonds team until 2019.
"We're taking five mid-court athletes to England in January so we can continue to explore and evolve our playing combinations and game plan as we head towards the World Cup," Alexander. said.
"Kate and Jamie-Lee both contributed differently to our midcourt during the Constellation Cup so we're keen to explore those combinations a little bit further.
"I was very impressed with how we performed in both the recent Quad Series and Constellation Cup so I'm looking forward to January where we'll again be competing on the world stage, further developing our game plans and starting to really build towards our 2019 World Cup campaign."
Captain Caitlin Bassett and fellow shooter Caitlin Thwaites are the only two players from the 2015 World Cup campaign named in the Diamonds side for the Quad series from January 13-20.
2019 Australian Diamonds Quad Series Team: Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Kelsey Browne, Courtney Bruce, Emily Mannix, Jamie-Lee Price, Kate Moloney, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.