Laura Geitz has earned a shock recall to ‘s Commonwealth Games netball team.Laura Geitz’s joy has been tempered by Sharni Layton’s heartbreak with only room for one veteran defender in ‘s Commonwealth Games netball squad.
Geitz hasn’t played for since 2015 and missed the last Super Netball season to have her son Barney, while Layton was pulled from the side last year due to exhaustion.
Both former n captains were given last-minute chances to push their case for selection at a training camp last month but there was only space for Geitz when coach Lisa Alexander announced her side to defend their Games crown on the Gold Coast in April.
Midcourt star Madi Robinson was another surprise inclusion after the former vice-captain was cut before the Constellation Cup last year due to form.
“It was an enormously difficult selection, there’s no other way to say it,” Alexander said.
“What we have done is try to pick a team on form, on who is performing now. It’s been tough, as we have had so many great performers for us.”
Alexander warned that 30-year-old Geitz still had work to do to regain the form that made her one of the world’s best defenders.
“We didn’t have it in our minds even in January that she was going to make it to Comm Games, we just needed to see her out on court,” Alexander said.
“She understands that she’s got a way to go still to get her fitness back to being able to maintain that intensity for four quarters and mix in with our new group of defenders.”
Alexander said fellow goal-keeper Layton wasn’t quite ready for international netball again.
“We’re really happy with her progress …. she’s got a bit of work to do to continue her progress back to full-bore netball,” the coach said.
“She’s hasn’t played since Super netball and international netball is different.
“We’re looking forward to the future for her and she certainly will be in the mix for the 2019 World Cup.”
Alexander said the toughest selection decision came in the goal attack position, with Stephanie Wood and veteran Susan Pettitt preferred as partners to Caitlin Thwaites and captain Caitlin Bassett while Gretel Tippett and Tegan Philip were omitted.
Pettitt, 33, missed selection for the 2014 Commonwealth Games after winning silver in 2006 and 2010.
“Susan Pettitt and Steph Wood did a magnificent job in that final Test against New Zealand and in the Constellation Cup as well and it’s all about performance and who can put those performances out at the time,” Alexander said.
“We have athletes in each area of the court who know what it takes to win a tournament at the highest level.”
Diamonds Games squad: Courtney Bruce, Laura Geitz, Susan Pettitt, Gabi Simpson, Stephanie Wood, Caitlin Bassett (capt), April Brandley, Kim Ravaillion, Madi Robinson, Caitlin Thwaites, Liz Watson, Jo Weston.