Young blood in Diamonds squad
Wednesday July 25, 2012
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander named three new players in a 22 player extended training squad today.
Melbourne Vixens shooters Karyn Howarth, Tegan Caldwell and speedy West Coast Fever midcourter Ashlee Brazill were all rewarded for consistent seasons at ANZ Championship level.
Both Caldwell and Howarth developed a strong shooting combination for the Vixens this year and while the Vixens didn’t taste premiership success in 2012, Alexander praised their individual performances.
“I think there will be that sting of disappointment from their point of view for the team performance but individually they’ve really shown that they can mix it with the very best,” she said.
“When you look at the overall season we see the improvement and maturity they have shown in the world’s best domestic competition.”
For many young players, cementing gaining regular court time and becoming string seven material can sometimes be a struggle.
Prior to this year, Ashleigh Brazill had gained limited opportunities at the NSW Swifts due mainly to more experienced players being ahead of her.
Her decision to move to the West Coast Fever under former Diamonds coach Norma Plummer has paid off as she gained regular court time and established herself as a midcourter.
“I think Ashleigh (Brazill) certainly burst onto the scene this year, she’s had some fantastic performances, particularly against New Zealand opposition” Alexander said.
All five Australian ANZ Championship teams are represented in the squad, with the Adelaide Thunderbirds topping the squad with six players. Next are the Vixens (five), Fever (four) and NSW Swifts/Queensland Firebirds (both three).
Central Pulse shooter Caitlin Thwaites is again the only player from a New Zealand based team to be selected.
Alexander indentified the influx of younger players into this year’s squad as healthy because it means competition places will be intense.
“At the end of the day, it’s not just about the team performances, it is individual potential to improve and how those players are going to maximise their talents in the Diamonds environment,” she said.
“There’s some new blood in the squad that is going to keep people on their toes as the squad needs to keep on improving.”
The 22 player squad will assemble at the AIS in Canberra from August 8-11 where Alexander and her fellow selectors will chose a team for September’s three Tests against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns.
This team will also contest a six Test international netball quad series featuring the Diamonds, New Zealand, England and South Africa.
Rebecca Bulley (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Bianca Chatfield (Melbourne Vixens), Julie Corletto (Melbourne Vixens), Laura Geitz (Queensland Firebirds), Mo’onia Gerrard (NSW Swifts), Susan Fuhrmann (West Coast Fever), Sharni Layton (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Emily Beaton (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Ashleigh Brazill (West Coast Fever), Madison Browne (Melbourne Vixens), Kimberlee Green (NSW Swifts), Renae Hallinan (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Chelsea Pitman (Queensland Firebirds), Natalie von Bertouch (Adelaide Thunderbirds)
Caitlin Bassett (West Coast Fever), Erin Bell (Adelaide Thunderbirds), Tegan Caldwell (Melbourne Vixens), Catherine Cox (West Coast Fever), Karyn Howarth (Melbourne Vixens), Natalie Medhurst (Queensland Firebirds), Susan Pratley (NSW Swifts), Caitlin Thwaites (Central Pulse)
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