Diamonds announce team for Comm Games | Wallam named as reserve

The Commonwealth Games netball competition takes place between July 29 and August 7; the Australian Diamonds are in Group A alongside Jamaica, South Africa, Scotland, Wales and Barbados; the Diamonds are the No 1 ranked side in the World Netball rankings

Last Updated: 16/06/22 6:43pm

The Diamonds are the No 1 ranked team in the world
The Diamonds are the No 1 ranked team in the world

Liz Watson will lead the Australian Diamonds at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, after head coach Stacey Marinkovich named her squad for this summer’s competition.

The Diamonds are the No 1 ranked team in the world but lost out in the final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Helen Housby’s last-second goal gave England a 52-51 victory and secured the Vitality Roses’ first netball gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

This year’s competition starts on July 29, with Australia sitting in the opposite group to England – Group A. The Diamonds are alongside Jamaica, South Africa, Scotland, Wales and Barbados.

Diamonds captain Watson and her vice-captain Steph Wood are two of the four athletes who featured in 2018. Jo Weston and Courtney Bruce are the other returnees.

Watson is the most capped player in the squad that has been selected by Marinkovich.

Alongside Watson’s Melbourne Vixens team-mate Kate Moloney, NSW Swifts’ Paige Hadley and Games newcomer Ash Brazill, form a strong set of mid-court options.

Australian Diamonds – Commonwealth Games fixtures

Friday, July 29 Australia vs Barbados
Saturday, July 30 Australia vs Scotland
Monday, August 1 Australia vs South Africa
Tuesday, August 2 Australia vs Wales
Thursday, August 4 Australia vs Jamaica

“I am incredibly excited to be playing alongside some of the best netballers in the world, and I can’t wait to see what this team can do in Birmingham,” Watson said.

“We’ve all grown up watching and dreaming about the Commonwealth Games, and we hope to inspire the nation when we step onto the court to represent Australia.”

Brazill, a specialist wing defence, made the decision to step away from her AFLW commitments earlier this year to focus on Commonwealth Games selection. She is one of the parents in the Australian team.

Gretel Bueta has also been juggling netball and parenting duties, after giving birth to son Bobby last year.

Rising star Sunday Aryang, the first African-born Diamond, joins the experienced Joanna Weston and Courtney Bruce in defence, alongside two-time NSW Swifts Premiership player Sarah Klau.

Vice-captain Wood has been selected alongside her Sunshine Coast Lightning team-mate Cara Koenen.

Vixens’ Kiera Austin will make her highly-anticipated return at international level, after tearing an ACL in 2021.

The Diamonds will travel to England with three reserves, including former Leeds Rhinos Netball shooter Donnell Wallam. The outfit will complete training camps in both Perth and Manchester.

“Selection for any international series – especially the Commonwealth Games – is never easy,” Marinkovich said.

“We have such great depth of talent in Australian netball, across every position on the court, and I congratulate the 12 athletes who have been selected to compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with this group of athletes and build on our connection both on and off the court, starting with a training camp in Perth next month.”

Australian Diamonds squad: Sunday Aryang, Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau, Jo Weston, Liz Watson (captain), Ash Brazill, Paige Hadley, Kate Moloney, Steph Wood (vice-captain), Kiera Austin, Gretel Bueta, Cara Koenen. Reserves: Ruby Bakewell Doran, Jamie-Lee Price, Donnell Wallam.

Source : Sky Sports