Diamonds ready to shine at World Cup

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says she's confident she has the right player mix to bring home another World Cup after several tough selection calls.

CAITLIN BASSETT of the Lightning gathers the ball during the Super Netball match between the Magpies and the Lightning at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
CAITLIN BASSETT of the Lightning gathers the ball during the Super Netball match between the Magpies and the Lightning at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says she's confident she has the right selection mix to turn Commonwealth Games silver into Netball World Cup gold at July's showpiece event in England.

Two-time champion Caitlin Bassett will lead a new-look 12-player squad, with no room for vice-captain Gabi Simpson, midcourt star Kim Ravaillion or defender Emily Mannix.

The team, unveiled Thursday, only includes three players from the triumphant 2015 campaign in Bassett, Caitlin Thwaites and Paige Hadley.

NSW Swifts defender Sarah Klau is set to make her Diamonds debut while midcourt ace Liz Watson has been elevated to vice-captain.

The Australians were forced to settle for a silver medal at last year's Games on the Gold Coast but are determined to turn the tables on England on their home turf, with the tournament held in Liverpool from July 12-21.

Australia have won the last three world titles among a haul of 11 since the first tournament in 1963.

Alexander felt her players had grown since their Commonwealth Games disappointment.

"I think we've added a lot more smarts since we've played them (England) last," Alexander said.

"Over the last 12 months we've provided some change-ups to our group and we've just got that ability to be more unpredictable, particularly with our shooting line-ups."

Alexander said it was a tough process whittling down players and leaving out some established Diamonds.

NSW Swifts centre Hadley, who missed last year's Commonwealth Games, wasn't even in the training squad at the start of the year but Alexander said her form meant she couldn't be ignored.

Alexander considered adding another midcourter to the make-up but felt it was too risky to be down a defender or shooter.

"It was an extremely tough selection which is a reflection of how strong our squad is and netball in Australia is," Alexander said.

The coach said she had faith in what Klau, chosen ahead of the Vixens' Mannix, would bring to the international arena.

"What we couldn't ignore was the game style that Sarah was bringing, particularly the change-ups from playing on that post shooter and also the moving shooter," Alexander said.

Bassett has over 40 Test caps more than the next most experienced player in Thwaites, but Alexander had no concerns about the lack of World Cup experience, with nine retaining their Commonwealth Games squad berths.

"Four years is a long time ago and if your program and your athletes don't evolve in that time then you're not going to stay ahead of everyone else," she said.

"We've done a lot of work on our performance psychology to prepare for it but I'm also confident that the players who were at Comm Games understand what tournament style is and they're ready for the World Cup."

Diamonds: Caitlin Bassett (Giants), April Brandley (Magpies), Kelsey Browne (Magpies), Courtney Bruce (Fever), Paige Hadley (Swifts), Sarah Klau (Swifts), Caitlin Thwaites (Vixens), Gretel Tippett (Firebirds), Jamie-Lee Price (Giants), Liz Watson (Vixens), Jo Weston (Vixens), Steph Wood (Lightning).


AAP