Layton back in Australian netball squad

Nov 2, 2017 - 1:07 AM Sharni Layton is set to return to international netball in January, but World Cup-winning captain Laura Geitz isn't in the squad for the Diamonds' last tournament before the Commonwealth Games.

An exhausted Layton was given a leave of absence for three months and missed the mid-year Quad Series and the recent Constellation Cup clashes with New Zealand.

She has been chosen in the 2018 Quad Series squad of 14 to play matches in London and Johannesburg, subject to getting a medical clearance.

"She is looking forward to getting back into training and joining her teammates for the upcoming training block," said Australian coach Lisa Alexander.

Layton's imminent return was welcomed by Diamonds vice-captain and wing defence Gabi Simpson.

"The experience that she brings, the energy that she brings to a team, that's something that's really valuable for us and it's really great that she's ready to come back and get involved," Simpson told AAP.

Alexander said she had spoken to Geitz, who was back in training after missing the inaugural Super Netball season after giving birth to her first child.

"We will look at making a decision later this year around whether she will be invited into the January (Commonwealth Games) simulation camp as a training partner," Alexander said.

Simpson, a Queensland Firebirds teammate of Geitz, has been impressed by her work.

"We've been on court a little bit, lots of gym work and lots of running sessions as well, so she's progressing really well," Simpson said.

The selectors have recalled Layton, NSW Swifts midcourter Paige Hadley and Firebirds shooter Gretel Tippett into a squad that contains two more players than usual.

"The selectors and I are ensuring all options are explored prior to selection of the Commonwealth Games team in February," Alexander said.

Defender Emily Mannix is the only player omitted from the squad that swept New Zealand in the Constellation Cup.

The Quad Series, which features the Diamonds, New Zealand and South Africa, is the only major international trophy Australia doesn't hold. The Silver Ferns won the last event.

"That's something that really hurt us a few months ago, so our aim for this competition is to get that trophy back in our hands," Simpson said.

Diamonds squad:

Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Paige Hadley, Sharni Layton (subject to medical clearance), Kate Moloney, Susan Pettitt, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.

Source: AAP

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