The Australian Diamonds have been dealt a blow on the eve of the 2011 Holden Netball Test Series with captain Natalie von Bertouch and Mo’onia Gerrard unavailable for selection ahead of the opening Test against England on Sunday.
Von Bertouch is sidelined with a stress reaction in her sesamoid bone in her right foot and will miss at least the first Test while Gerrard is suffering from a calf strain which will likely see her sidelined for the three-Test series against England.
“We need to follow what our medical staff recommended, so if they say that they need to be out for any length of time then that’s what we do,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said.
“Natalie and Mo’onia will stay in camp with us to get the treatment they need and also to manage their load.
“It’s not looking likely that Mo’onia will take part in the English section of the series but we’re certainly making sure that we’ll do everything possible to get her on the court and be ready to play that first Test against New Zealand in Perth.
The Diamonds medical staff made the decision following the team’s first training session in Newcastle to rest the two members of the leadership group with monitoring and assessment to continue on a daily basis.
“Injuries are what challenges a group and new leaders have to step up in the group,“ Alexander said.
“As I said to the girls from the start from when I took over the team, we’re all leaders in our respective fields, we’re all leaders on the court, at this level we’re expected to stand up and make decisions on the court because I can’t get out there and do it for them.”
“I think when you give people responsibility they generally step up to the plate and that’s why these players have been chosen by the selectors because they are prepared to step up to that next level of performance, whether it’s on court or in leadership.”
Madison Browne and Rebecca Bulley have been drafted into the Diamonds team to cover for the injured von Bertouch and Gerrard respectively.
“Both Rebecca and Madison showed at squad camp that they’re very close to selection and that’s why they were rewarded with being named as emergencies for this tour.”
“They were terrific in the team camp, trained well, great attitude and showed the ability to be flexible and adaptable in this environment which is what we have to have.”
The Australian Diamonds take on England in the first of three Tests in the 2011 Holden Netball Test Series on Sunday at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre which can be seen live on Channel Ten and streaming online through Telstra BigPond Sport.
2011 Holden Netball Test Series Dates:
9 Oct – Australian Diamonds v England, Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle
12 Oct – Australian Diamonds v England, AIS Arena, Canberra
16 Oct – Australian Diamonds v England, Allphones Arena, Sydney
23 Oct – Australian Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns, Burswood Dome, Perth
26 Oct – Australian Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns, Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Adelaide
30 Oct – Australian Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns, Hisense Arena, Melbourne.