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Australia names team to end Commonwealth Games gold drought
Australia has named its team to end the country's 12-year Commonwealth Games netball gold medal drought at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday.
Debutant Tegan Caldwell headlines the 12-player Australian Commonwealth Games Netball team, which includes five players with prior Commonwealth Games experience, including Victorian defender and vice-captain Bianca Chatfield, who returns to the Australian Commonwealth Games Team for the first time since 2006.
The 25-year-old Victorian shooter is the only member of the team yet to make her international debut in a side that includes seven players, Caitlin Bassett, Julie Corletto, Sharni Layton, Kimberley Ravaillion, Madi Robinson and Caitlin Thwaites earning their maiden Commonwealth Games selections.
“It’s been 12 long and painful years since Australia last stood atop the Commonwealth Games podium so we’re confident that we’ve picked a team that will end our golden drought in Glasgow,” Australian Netball coach Lisa Alexander said.
“It’s been an arduous task for the selectors and I to pick a team of 12 athletes to represent Australia; a selection that we’ve deliberated and debated endlessly to ensure we have the best team to reclaim the gold medal.”
Captain Laura Geitz, Kimberlee Green, Renae Hallinan and Natalie Medhurst were all members of the team that dramatically went down to New Zealand in double extra-time in the 2010 final.
After winning the first two Commonwealth Games gold medals in 1998 and 2002, Australia has collected the silver medal at last two campaigns, going down to New Zealand at Melbourne 2006 and Delhi 2010.
Coach Lisa Alexander named her 12-player team at a function attended by Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Federal Sports Minister Peter Dutton and Australian Commonwealth Games Association CEO Perry Crosswhite.
“It’s apparent that the team has been selected with very strong leadership experience and the addition of young and skillful players who have shown they are capable of taking the next step,” Crosswhite said.
“I am confident that they will do very well in Glasgow.”
The Australian Commonwealth Games netball team will return to Canberra for a camp at the end of June before departing for a pre-Games training camp in Manchester, England, where the team will put the finishing touches on its preparations for Glasgow 2014.
Australia opens its 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games campaign 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).
Australian Commonwealth Games Netball Team:
Name (state of origin)
Laura Geitz (Queensland) – captain
Bianca Chatfield (Victoria) – vice-captain
Caitlin Bassett (Western Australia)
Tegan Caldwell (Victoria)
Julie Corletto (Victoria)
Kimberlee Green (New South Wales)
Renae Hallinan (Victoria)
Sharni Layton (Victoria)
Natalie Medhurst (South Australia)
Kimberley Ravaillion (New South Wales)
Madison Robinson (Victoria)
Caitlin Thwaites (Victoria)