Two Lorna Jane Queensland Firebirds have been announced this morning as part of the Diamonds touring squad and wider playing squad – Gretel Tippett and captain Gabi Simpson – and a third Queenslander has been included with Laura Scherian picking up her first Diamond honour, while Steph Wood and former Queensland Firebirds Kim Ravaillion have opted out of selection at this time.
Netball Queensland CEO Catherine Clark congratulated the star duo on their inclusion.
“Gretel has had a sensational season and clearly demonstrated her impact as a goaler. Her stats are incredible. She consistently delivers strong performances and she will be an asset to the Diamonds team,” Clark said.
“Gabi’s leadership skills are well known as is her relentless work ethic. She’s a game-changer who steps up in big moments and plays for her teammates,” Clark said.
“And how fantastic to see a third Queenslander in the green and gold with Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Laura Scherian being named in the team,” she said.
Gretel Tippett said she was thrilled to represent Australia again.
“I’m very excited for the chance to put on the green and gold dress again in the upcoming Constellation Cup, and for the opportunity to play on home soil,” she said.
“It never gets easier waiting for that phone call from Lisa. It’s a huge honour. I cannot wait for the four-game battle with our sisters across the ditch. Our games always go down to the wire, they are a classy side and we will be doing everything in our power to make sure we are raring to go come October 13!”
Gabi Simpson said the call-up was an honour.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be in the Australian Squad and will be supporting our Con Cup team every step of the way,” she said.
NQ GM High Performance Richard McInnes said seeing three Queenslanders reach the pinnacle of the sport and representing their country was a testament to the quality of the development programs in place.
“Laura learned her craft at Brisbane North Cougars and the guidance of Liz White and we are delighted to see her selected in the Diamonds Squad. She stands to become only the 10th Queensland born player to represent Australia if selected to play in the Constellation Cup.
“Laura has continued to develop her game under Noeline and has become one of the leading wing attacks in the SSN,” he said.
Samsung Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander, who will coach her 100th Diamonds match in Auckland, said she’s excited by the new-look team that will be taking on New Zealand.
“My fellow selectors Annie Sargeant, Michelle Wilkins and I believe this is the combination of players that we need to face an incredibly strong Silver Ferns team, with flexibility right across the court and a great mix of experienced talent and exciting up-and-comers,” she said.
“It’s a testament to Netball Australia’s pathway that we have such depth within our elite program that it makes selection quite a task.”
Tippett has 32 Test caps and Simpson has 40.
Both celebrated key milestones this season, with Simpson celebrating 100 games at SSN level while Tippett marked 1000 goals, including being the first Australian to shoot 100 goals consecutive goals at SSN level.
The Constellation Cup is an annual four-match test series against the New Zealand Silver Ferns, being played in:
Horncastle Christchurch – Sunday 13 October
Spark Arena, Auckland – Wednesday 16 October
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – Sunday 20 October
RAC Arena, Perth – Sunday 27 October
2019 Samsung Australian Diamonds Constellation Cup Team:
Caitlin Bassett (GIANTS Netball)
Ash Brazill (Collingwood Magpies)
Courtney Bruce (West Coast Fever)
Paige Hadley (NSW Swifts)
Sarah Klau (NSW Swifts)
Tegan Philip (Melbourne Vixens)
Jamie-Lee Price (GIANTS Netball)
Laura Scherian (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
Caitlin Thwaites (Melbourne Vixens)
Gretel Tippett (Queensland Firebirds)
Maddy Turner (NSW Swifts)
Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens)
Jo Weston (Melbourne Vixens)
2019/20 Australian Diamonds Squad Members:
Keira Austin (GIANTS Netball)
Emily Mannix (Melbourne Vixens)
Kate Moloney (Melbourne Vixens)
Gabi Simpson (Queensland Firebirds)
Steph Wood (Sunshine Coast Lightning)
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