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Debate swirls over Netball World Cup spots

  • Debate swirls over Netball World Cup spots

Speculation has intensified over who will win contentious spots in each line of Australia's netball team on the eve of the final World Cup squad announcement.

The 12-strong Diamonds team will be named in Sydney on Wednesday as they seek to defend their world title in August following their drought-breaking Commonwealth Games triumph.

With Caitlin Bassett and Caitlin Thwaites all but locked in as goal shooters, most debate surrounds the goal attack positions.

Natalie Medhurst is more than likely to hold onto one GA bib, meaning the other will be the subject of a fierce fight between former world championship team members Erin Bell and Susan Pettitt, and Commonwealth Games incumbent Tegan Phillips.

Young gun Gretel Tippett, a training camp invitee, is also in contention after the 21-year-old scored the winner in the Queensland Firebirds' dramatic ANZ Championship grand final win over the NSW Swifts on Sunday.

In-form shooter Pettitt was overlooked by coach Lisa Alexander for the provisional team of 18 in April, but has more than made her case for a recall after a blistering season with the Swifts.

The 31-year-old scored 422 goals at an average of 88 per cent, including 26 on Sunday as part of her standout performance in the ANZ Championship decider.

But Bell's additional versatility and ability to slot into the wing attack spot when needed could give her the edge over the other three.

An extra midcourt place is up for grabs to cover for the absence of dynamic star Madi Robinson, who's been ruled out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

In that department Kimberley Ravaillion, Kimberlee Green and Renae Hallinan are all-but-definite inclusions, with Swifts wing attack/centre Paige Hadley a bolter to fill the vacant spot.

Hadley enjoyed an outstanding 2013, winning her first two Test caps and Australian 21 and under player of the year, but her rapid ascent was stalled by a season-ending ACL injury early in 2014.

Rising West Coast Fever star Ashleigh Brazill has also pressed her case.

In the defensive line, Firebirds and Australian captain Laura Geitz looms large for automatic retention of her goal keeper spot, while Swifts combination Sharni Layton and Julie Corletto are also near-certain picks.

Bianca Chatfield's retirement leaves room for another in the circle, with the Firebirds' Clare McMeniman or the Fever's April Letton both a chance.

"It's a lot of big decisions to be made," Alexander told the ABC.

"That last (championship) game probably solidified a couple of decisions for us around players that have been able to perform under pressure.

"Because at the end of the day that's what a World Cup's all about."

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