• To Birmingham 2022

Austin caps off return with Games berth

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Anna Harrington / AAP News

It has been a long road back to the game after suffering an ACL tear for the goaler who has now booked her ticket to Birmingham.

 

Goaler Kiera Austin has completed her remarkable return from an ACL tear to headline Australia’s gold-seeking netball team at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Thirteen months after suffering the dreaded injury, Melbourne Vixens shooter Austin is the only player who didn’t feature in the Diamonds’ team that triumphed in January’s Quad Series to crack the 12-player squad.

Australia is out for redemption after the heartbreak of losing the 2018 gold medal match to England by a single goal.

Only four players from the Gold Coast team remain: captain Liz Watson, vice-captain Stephanie Wood, Jo Weston and Courtney Bruce.

The other eight players: Sunday Aryang, Ash Brazill, Austin, Gretel Bueta, Paige Hadley, Sarah Klau, Cara Koenen and Kate Moloney, are all making their Games debut.

Bueta’s selection caps off a successful return from giving birth to son Bobby in January last year while crosscode star Brazill has reaped the rewards of deciding to s tep away from AFLW to focus on netball.

Donnell Wallam didn’t make the final cut but will travel with the squad, along with Jamie-Lee Price and Ruby Bakewell-Doran, as reserves.

Maddy Proud was also an unlucky omission along with Maddy Turner, Sophie Dwyer and Amy Parmenter.

“Selection for any international series – especially the Commonwealth Games – is never easy,” coach Stacey Marinkovich said.

“We have such great depth of talent in Australian netball, across every position on the court, and I congratulate the 12 athletes who have been selected to compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“I’m incredibly excited to work with this group of athletes and build on our connection both on and off the court, starting with a training camp in Perth next month.”

Australia has won three gold and three silver medals in netball and is the most successful nation at the Games, ahead of New Zealand, England and Jamaica.

The Netball competition in Birmingham is from Friday 29 through to Sunday 7 August at the NEC Arena.

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