Diamonds hope to shine in Jamaica

Australia will play three Tests in Jamaica in January as part of their preparation for the upcoming world championship campaign.

The fourth-ranked Sunshine Girls will sport a full-strength outfit in Kingston including Queensland Firebirds shooting sensation Romelda Aiken.

The three-Test series will be the Diamonds first hit-out of 2011 and their first match since their gold medal extra time loss to New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games in October.

National coach Norma Plummer sees the tour as a crucial step in testing new combinations ahead of the world titles in Singapore in July.

“With the way the ANZ Championship lines up in 2011, the national squad has very limited time together and this tour is the only chance the Australian Diamonds get to really put different combinations on court,” Plummer said.

“Firstly, we have a re-selection and we look at the opportunity for others that didn’t make the Commonwealth Games team.

“It’s really quite vital that we test the waters before we head into the world championships.”

While the Diamonds produced a clean sweep of the Sunshine Girls in a two-Test series in August, Plummer expects a much tougher tussle in Kingston.

“I am expecting a much better performance; it was really disappointing that they didn’t bring their best team out this year.

“In their own home town they are always extremely pumped up in front of their own fans.

“They often turn out their best netball, so you can just never underestimate them.”

The Diamonds team to travel to Jamaica will be selected at a camp from Jan 4-7 at the AIS before the opening clash in Kingston on Jan 12.