Collingwood unveils new netball team

The Collingwood Football Club have today unveiled their inaugural team in the new national league, complete with the new name, logo and a star-studded team line-up.

In front of a packed room of media, junior netballers and special guests, Collingwood President Eddie McGuire spoke of the importance of having a club for everyone and introduced the new team name, the Collingwood Magpies, and logo, which represents a netball going through the ring and the team.

The Magpies lured a number of high-profile athletes from different states to the team, including five current Australian Diamonds players who played in the recent Quad Series.

Magpies coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said that it was a really competitive process selecting the 10 players for the team, and that the girls selected displayed that winning culture and wanting to be a part of history.

“It was really important to try and find that blend of experience, performance players and also potential and then also moulding that into getting the right kind of people, so the people that were prepared to do the hard yards, not just for themselves, but for the team,” Keppich-Birrell said.

Sharni Layton is one of big names who will be joining the team, having been rumoured to join Collingwood since it was announced that they would form a team in the new league. Layton, an avid Collingwood supporter, left the NSW Swifts after three years, and almost 10 years away from her home in Victoria. She is joined by fellow Swifts’ player, Caitlin Thwaites, who also returns home to Victoria after playing in Sydney and New Zealand.

Joining them is former Swifts and Melbourne Vixens player Micaela Wilson, who didn’t play in the ANZ Championship this year. Three 2016 West Coast Fever players have also joined the Pies, with their captain Ashleigh Brazill, defender April Brandley and midcourter Shae Brown, whose brother-in-law Nathan Brown plays AFL for Collingwood, leaving the west for a new venture.

Adding to Brazill and Brown in the midcourt are two of the Diamonds starting midcourters, centre and two-time ANZ Championship premiership player Kimberley Ravaillion, and Melbourne Vixens captain Madison Robinson, who has crossed town to join the team. Fellow 2016 Vixen Alice Teague-Neeld is also a new member to the Collingwood team after a breakout season this year.

Rounding out the 2017 team is Cody Lange, who was coached by Keppich-Birrell at the Adelaide Thunderbirds this year until an ACL injury ended her season. The players will then come back together in November, after the Constellation Cup, where they will decide who will be the captain of the team.
“You don’t have to have a badge to be a leader. Each one of them has been a leader in their own right for many years so it’s a matter of finding which one bests represents them as a group,” Keppich-Birrell said.

The Queensland Firebirds unveiled their 2017 team also, with a new-look team compared to their back-to-back premiership winning team of 2015/2016. The most noticeable absences from the team is their formidable defensive duo of Clare McMeniman, who retired, and Laura Geitz, who has stepped away from the 2017 season to have a baby.

Whilst in South Australia, the Adelaide Thunderbirds announced that former Vixen Karyn Bailey and Central Pulse midcourter Chelsea Locke will be joining their 2017 team.