Reigning world champions, the Australian Diamonds have included three uncapped players in their squad to defend their title in Singapore in July. Queensland Firebirds' Chelsea Pitman and Adelaide Thunderbirds Erin Bell and Sharni Layton were included in the Australian line up after stand out performances in the 2011 ANZ Championships and in the four day selection weekend, which concluded on Monday. The full Australia World Championships squad is: Natalie von Bertouch (captain), Catherine Cox (vice captain), Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Julie Corletto, Susan Fuhrmann, Laura Geitz, Mo'onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst, Chelsea Pitman. The Diamonds will face rivals New Zealand in two tests next week, before travelling to Hong Kong for a week-long training camp where they will play Samoa, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka in preparation for Singapore. Maddison Browne, Clare McMeniman, Amy Steel and Caitlin Thwaites, who narrowly missed out on World Championships selection, have been named as training partners for the Diamonds squad during their preparations.
However it is unclear if Australian coach Norma Plummer will be in charge of the Diamonds after the World Championships, after it was announced this week that she is to take over the role of head coach for the West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championships on her return from Singapore. Plummer, who has guided the Australian national side for the past eight years, has yet to announce whether she will reapply for her national role but Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer has said that there is nothing to stop her holding the two positions consecutively. Meanwhile, former Australian international player Lisa Beehag has been named as the coach of the Sydney Swifts for the 2012 season, after incumbent Julie Fitzgerald did not have her contract renewed. Also this week, championship winners the Mission Foods Queensland Firebirds have announced that winning coach Rosealee Jencke will remain in post for another year.
FISU, the International University Sports Federation, has announced that Cape Town, South Africa will host the inaugural FISU World University Netball Championships, to take place in 2012. FISU is the leading global organisation for university sport and has 153 members from national university sports federations from around the world.
Netball development across Vanuatu continues to prosper, with a series of outreach programmes planned for more of the country's 83 islands. Three of Vanuatu Netball Association's coaching and umpiring scholarship recipients are to travel to Pentecost and Malekula to run umpiring and coaching courses as well as training sessions for young players. In addition, more than 20 applicants have been successful in achieving their local umpiring badge theory certificate following an intensive training course and assessment. Congratulations to all those involved.
Experienced midcourter Nadine Bryan has been named as captain of Jamaica's Sunshine Girls for the World Championships. Bryan, who took time away from the international game prior to the 2007 competition in Auckland, wil be competing in her fourth World Championships.
World number eight-ranked side Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has also announced its World Championships squad this week. Janelle Barker will captain the side, which also includes Anastacia Wilson, who was part of Northern Thunder's squad in the UK's Netball Superleague last season. The full T&T squad is: Janelle Barker (capt), Anika La Roche (vice captain), Kielle Connelly, Joelisa Cooper, Crystal-Ann George, Candice Guerero, Onella Jack, Rhonda John-Davis, Alicia Liverpool, Tricia Liverpool, Jellene Richardson, Anastacia Wilson. T&T will complete its world championships preparations with a three match test series against tenth-ranked Barbados at the end of June.
The newly christened Scottish Thistles completed an overwhelming 3-0 series victory over Sri Lanka, with a 78-41 win at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow after 77-42 and 69-42 wins in the first two matches, played in Aberdeen and Kilbride.
Hertfordshire Mavericks powered into their sixth consecutive Grand Final in the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague with an impressive 55-44 victory over Northern Thunder in the competition's major semi final. Thunder, who led the league for much of the season before being struck by a series of serious injuries to key players, were unable to match the shooting accuracy of Mavericks' England international Louisa Brownfield and Monique Wood, who scored at 89% for the match. In the final, Mavericks will face either Northern Thunder or Surrey Storm, after the South East-based team stunned reigning champions 57-53 with a thrilling last quarter comeback after trailing by five goals at three-quarter time.
Picture shows Australian captain Natalie von Bertouch (right) and squad members at the announcement of the Australian Diamonds to defend their world championship title, held in Canberra.
– but the sailors praise the new boats