It’s great to have her back: Coach sings Geitz praises
DIAMONDS coach Lisa Alexander says comeback queen Laura Geitz has emphatically proven she was no token selection in the Australian netball team for the Commonwealth Games.
Ahead of their opening pool game against Northern Ireland on Thursday, the Diamonds had a four-day camp on the Sunshine Coast last week that included practice matches against the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Geitz was one of the standouts for the Diamonds in what is precious match practice for the former Australian captain.
The defender has not played an official competition game for club or country since the 2016 trans-Tasman grand final after missing the entire 2017 season following the birth of her son Barney.
Geitz has not played for Australia since a Constellation Cup cameo in 2015 and Alexander said the goalkeeper brings priceless experience to the national squad.
"Laura … it's just great to have her back. She gives everyone around her confidence when she is out there. Her experience is invaluable,'' Alexander said.
"You can see she is still up to the standard of international netball which is the main thing. She picks and chooses her moments so well.
"She has certainly shown that she wasn't picked just to make up the numbers.''
Geitz said the two practice games were the ideal build-up to the Commonwealth Games.
"As a team it was great to mix up the combinations and for me it was great to get that extra game time under my belt,'' she said.
"There's great pressure out in front of me so I'm enjoying having a fly at the ball.
"It's a surreal feeling at the moment. Sometimes it hits me that it's been a long time since I was a part of this. Other times, it feels like it was last week.
"I'm just really enjoying playing again. I feel good out there and feel like it is all coming together.''
Alexander said the Diamonds ticked every box during the Sunshine Coast camp and had given her the best kind of headache.
"Very happy with the two practice matches. They've been sensational. We can't thank the Firebirds and Lightning enough, they were so supportive,'' Alexander said.
"They (the practice matches) have made it really hard for us as a coaching staff (to settle on a starting seven). It gives us lots of options.''
Defender Courtney Bruce was rested from the final practice match against the Lightning on Sunday but will be fit for the start of the Commonwealth Games.