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Veteran Cox gets call-up
Veteran Cox gets call-up

Veteran Catherine Cox is poised to join an elite group of netballers who have played more than 100 Tests for Australia after being included in a squad for a series of matches starting on September 16.

The West Coast Fever shooter, who has a minor calf muscle injury, is just two games short of the mile- stone which she is expected to surpass in series against New Zealand, South Africa and England.

Just three players have notched more than 100 games for Australia - Liz Ellis (122), Sharelle McMahon (118) and Vicki Wilson (104).

Cox said it was a relief to be selected in the national squad again.

"I haven't been thinking about how close I was to 100 caps but it is a huge milestone and now I'm allowing myself to get excited about it," she said. "To be named vice-captain is an incredible accolade."

At the other end of the scale, Ashleigh Brazill is the only debutant in the side after a break-out season for West Coast, having moved from Sydney to play under former national coach Norma Plummer.

"She's a prodigious talent and I think she's stepped up this year," Australian coach Lisa Alexander said. "Her performances during our squad camp were first class."

Alexander has also included Fever shooter Caitlin Bassett but world championship-winning goalkeeper Susan Fuhrmann has been left out after eight years in the national squad.

"I've known Susan quite closely for a couple of years and she's an incredible woman in so many ways and it (leaving her out of the team) was a very tough decision," Alexander said.

The traditional squad of 12 has been expanded by three for next month's three-Test Constellation Cup against New Zealand, to be followed by a series featuring Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa playing each other twice.

"It's about ensuring that we're giving our Diamonds as much exposure to international competition as possible in preparation for 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2015 world netball championships," Alexander said.

Bianca Chatfield and Susan Pratley return to the squad for the first time since 2010 when they played for the Diamonds at the Commonwealth Games.

  • Squad: *Natalie von Bertouch (c), Catherine Cox (vc), Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Ashleigh Brazill, Madison Browne, Rebecca Bulley, Bianca Chatfield, Julie Corletto, Laura Geitz, Mo'onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Natalie Medhurst, Chelsea Pitman, Susan Pratley.