Diamonds Go For Gold In Glasgow

Aus v NZ - Women's Netball
Traditional netball rivals Australia and New Zealand will go for Games gold. Photo: Getty Images/Hannah Johnston

It’s been 12 years since Australia collected gold at the Games and the Diamonds are hoping to sparkle in Glasgow.

The powerful Australian squad going for gold includes five players with prior Games experience. Tegan Caldwell is the only rookie, so she and Caitlin Bassett, Julie Corletto, Sharni Layton, Kim Ravillion, Madi Robinson and Caitlin Thwaites will make their Games debuts.

Captain Laura Geitz, Kimberlee Green, Renae Hallinan and Natalie Medhurst were all members of the team which agonizingly went down to New Zealand in double extra-time in the 2010 final in Delhi. Vice-captain Bianca Chatfield is back in the Games team for the first time in eight years.

After winning the first two Games gold medals in 1998 (Kuala Lumpur) and 2002 (Manchester), the Aussies have had to play second fiddle to the Kiwis at the last two campaigns, which included a home defeat in Melbourne in 2006.

Australia vs New Zealand - Womens Netball
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This squad has a blend of strong leadership, experience and young and skilful players who have shown they are ready for the big stage.

The Australians continued preparations in Canberra late last month, ahead of a pre-Games training camp in Manchester, England, where they’ll put the finishing touches on their campaign.

The Diamonds’ quest to end their gold drought begins against Wales on Thursday 24 July, before the remaining pool matches against England (26 July), Barbados (27 July), Trinidad & Tobago (28 July) and South Africa (30 July). The semis and finals will be contested on the first weekend in August.

As always, New Zealand will be our biggest threat. The Silver Ferns have a strong squad and have won four medals since netball was included in the games – two gold and two silver. However, England claims it has enjoyed a perfect build-up, and with a talented squad which includes ANZ Championship stars Geva Mentor and Jade Clarke, can end the trans-Tasman domination.

Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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