Diamonds Test netball spots up for grabs

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says her Constellation Cup team will balance the longevity of regular players with the prowess of netball’s rising stars.


Alexander will likely name nine of her 12-strong triumphant World Cup line-up when she announces her squad on Thursday for next month’s four-Test series against New Zealand.

But the retirements of Julie Corletto, Bec Bulley and Kim Green have created room for others – and more than just three, with a 15-player extended squad expected to be announced.

“Obviously, with three retiring from our team, we need to replace them,” Alexander said.

“That’s the exciting part of coaching – you get to move on with the next group.

“What we’ve got coming underneath is amazing talent.”

Queensland Firebirds star Clare McMeniman is a strong chance to receive a call-up for one of the defensive bibs freed up by Corletto and Bulley, while West Coast Fever’s April Letton is also a possibility.

Both were named on the extended world titles team earlier this year before missing the final cut, while captain Laura Geitz and Sharni Layton will almost certainly be retained in the defensive third.

In the midcourt, Paige Hadley is poised to retain her place, fresh off her successful World Cup debut, along with mainstay centre Kim Ravaillion and wing defence Renae Hallinan.

Fever star Ashleigh Brazill has pressed her claims for inclusion in Green’s vacancy with an impressive trans-Tasman championship season.

The 25-year-old will be challenged by the Firebirds’ Gabi Simpson and Liz Watson of the Melbourne Vixens.

“It’s always difficult,” Alexander said of the selection process.

“There are people who are still missing out that are in the squad.

“But what we can say is that this is a four-Test series and we’ve got an opportunity to pick another team of probably 14 that will tour England (next January).”

Alexander said she didn’t believe in blooding young talent, rather providing aspiring Diamonds players with experience.

“We try not to do that too much in netball; we try to be very strategic about making sure people get experiences so they earn their place in the Diamonds,” she said.

“The team is a sensational team because they’ve had to work hard to get where they are, and there’s a lot of pressure on all of them to keep their positions.

“Nobody just gets it because they’re going to be blooded – they get it because they earn it.”