The Australian Diamonds will play three Tests in Jamaica in January as part of the preparation for their World Championship campaign in July.
The fourth ranked Sunshine Girls will sport a full-strength outfit in Kingston including Queensland Firebirds shooting sensation Romelda Aiken.
The three-Test Series will be the Diamonds first hit-out of 2011 and their first match since their gold medal extra time defeat in the Commonwealth Games in October.
Diamonds coach Norma Plummer sees the tour as a crucial step in testing new combinations ahead of the World Championships in Singapore.
“With the way the ANZ Championship lines up in 2011, the national squad has very limited time together and this tour is the only chance the Australian Diamonds get to really put different combinations on court,” Plummer said.
“Firstly, we have a re-selection and we look at the opportunity for others that didn’t make the Commonwealth Games team.
“It’s really quite vital that we test the waters before we head into the World Championships.”
While the Diamonds produced a clean sweep of the Sunshine Girls in the Holden Netball Test Series in August this year Plummer expects a much tougher tussle in Kingston.
“I am expecting a much better performance; it was really disappointing that they didn’t bring their best team out this year.
“In their own home town they are always extremely pumped up in front of their own fans. They often turn out their best netball, so you can just never underestimate them.
“It’s also important that we have this opportunity to play them because they’ll be in our draw again at the World Championships I’d assume.”
The Diamonds team to travel to Jamaica will be selected at a camp from January 4-7 at the AIS.
Australian Diamonds v Jamaican Sunshine Girls
Three Test Series
January 12, 14 & 16
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day