Launceston has been promised its first taste of Netball Tasmania’s-aligned Australian superstars during next month’s Constellation Test match at the Silverdome.
But promising Tasmanians have missed the cut to earn a berth in the star-studded Collingwood Magpies line-up that was announced on Wednesday in Melbourne.
No less than six current Australian Diamonds – Kim Ravaillion, Shani Layton, Caitlin Thwaites, Ash Brazill, April Brandley and Madison Robinson – were rolled out in arguably the most impressive assembly of a netball talent in Australia’s club history.
Netball Tasmania had formed a partnership in May this year with the one of three new National Netball League clubs.
That deal is expected to confirm that Collingwood play possible home games in the state – Netball Tasmania’s preferred venue is the Silverdome – and for Tasmania to provide a base for the club’s feeder side in the Australian Netball League.
Collingwood coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell was excited that six of the new entity will get the chance to gel club combinations amid the sold-out Tasmanian Test against New Zealand on October 12.
“We’re so lucky that some of them have represented Australia in an under-age group before or now as an open Diamonds,” she said.
“So they know how to play Australian-style netball and that is something we’ll be playing at Collingwood.”
Keppich-Birrell refused to rule out earlier this month that Tasmanian netballers could be among the final 10-member Magpies squad, citing the rise of ex-Cavaliers netballer Kelsie Rainbow.
“We are still looking towards our training partner group, which we won’t release until after the sign-up periods is completed,” she said.
The mid-courter, who joined the Netball Victoria this year, could be one of four training partners to cover for team injuries next season.
Keppich-Birrell said Tasmanians, who are expected to fill the Magpies ANL roster, were seen as fertile ground for the club’s development.
“We are looking in Tasmania for those training partners – we haven’t closed them down yet,” she said.
“We have some good ideas who’ll they’ll be, but they’re great athletes, and they may well be signed up to another club and contracted during this signing period.
“So we’re just being respectful of the athletes to ensure they have every opportunity to play in the NNL.”
Tasmania’s home-bred netballers will be in line for the Magpies ANL side that will replace the Tassie Spirit that took a hiatus in 2014 in favour of adopting a state high-performance program.
Collingwood Magpies squad for NNL 2017:
- April Brandley (GK, GD)
- Ash Brazill (C, WD)
- Shae Brown (C, WD, WA)
- Cody Lange (GA, GS)
- Sharni Layton (GK, GD)
- Kim Ravaillion (C, WA, WD)
- Madison Robinson (C, WA)
- Alice Teague-Neeld (GS, GA)
- Caitlin Thwaites (GA, GS)
- Micaela Wilson (GK, GD)