Diamonds set for long-awaited Brisbane return
INTERNATIONAL netball will return to Brisbane for the first time in eight years with the Australian Diamonds starting their 2017 campaign in the Sunshine State.
The world champion Diamonds last played in Brisbane in 2009 but will feature on the opening night of the Quad Series at Boondall on August 26 that also involves New Zealand, England and South Africa.
Australia will take on England at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre with New Zealand playing South Africa in the second game of the double-header.
The series will continue on to Canberra, Auckland and Invercargill before the Diamonds and Silver Ferns engage in the four-Test Constellation Cup in October.
The last time the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal-winning Diamonds played in Queensland was in 2013 on the Gold Coast.
They will return to the tourist strip in 2018 to defend their title at the Commonwealth Games.
Coach Lisa Alexander said the build-up to the Gold Coast started now.
"With just three international tours between now and the Commonwealth Games, every quarter played of every game will play its part in our preparations," Alexander said.
"We are clear on our goal to win the gold medal, so will ensure we put the hard work in now.
"We cannot wait to bring international netball back to Brisbane, with two high-quality contests between four of the world's best netballing nations.
"It will be crucial that we set the tone of the next six months at our opening Test of the Netball Quad Series, by putting out a performance our fans can be proud of.
"As reigning (Quad Series) titleholders, we know there will be a target on our backs in the Quad Series. Our athletes will have to click into gear, after up to half a year apart.
"In order to be successful, the squad must continue to grow, through diligence and strong connections."
The Australia squad for the Quad Series and Constellation Cup will be announced on June 27, 10 days after the Suncorp Super Netball grand final.
The Sunshine Coast hosts West Coast Fever at USC Stadium on Friday night while the Firebirds will take on Adelaide at Boondall on Saturday night.