Diamonds in the rough: Surprise call-ups for Ingles and new faces
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Diamonds in the rough: Surprise call-ups for Ingles and new faces

Renae Ingles was overcome when told she was in the running for a return to the Australian Diamonds.

Ingles was going about her business in Melbourne last Tuesday when Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander was making her calls to those players in the national squad for the Quad series and Constellation Cup series in September and October.

Comeback trail: Renae Ingles' shock return has coincided with the Vixens finding their best form.

Comeback trail: Renae Ingles' shock return has coincided with the Vixens finding their best form.Credit:Grant Treeby

Having only returned to elite netball midseason, Ingles didn’t even know a squad was being named.

“I just picked up the phone like any other day", Ingles said on Sunday.

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“Lisa [Alexander] said 'I've got good news - you're in the Diamonds squad', and I just started crying straight away. This is a whirlwind for me - months ago I was sitting on a couch in Salt Lake City retired.

“It has been an incredible nine weeks with the Melbourne Vixens and just wanting to put my best foot forward in my role with them, so this is an added bonus.

“While it is all really exciting, and I hope to get to wear the green and gold again, it’s about the business end of the season for the Vixens.”

Ingles left Super Netball last year due to the demands of supporting husband Joe Ingles, who stars with NBA club Utah Jazz, and their twin children.

Shock call-up: Renae Ingles with twins Milla and Jacob in 2016.

Shock call-up: Renae Ingles with twins Milla and Jacob in 2016.Credit:Justin McManus

But she made a surprise return to the elite level after the Vixens lost Chloe Watson when she stepped down from the side after becoming pregnant.

Ingles, who last played for Australia at the 2015 World Cup, was joined in the Diamonds by Vixens players Jo Weston, Kate Maloney, Emily Mannix, Liz Watson and Tegan Philip - the only Vixens starter not named was import Mwai Kumwenda.

“Nine weeks ago this was so far from my reality - I thought my days playing for Australia were over,” Ingles said.

“This is a lovely surprise and something I’m really proud of.”

There is no guarantee she will make the Diamonds side for the opening game with that team to be named on August 31 after the Super Netball season is over.

But it could mean she and the twins delay their return to Salt Lake City where Joe will need to end his offseason “Daddy Daycare” role and return to preseason training with the Jazz.

Renae confirmed she won’t be calling Jazz coach Quin Snyder to tell him Joe would be late back to training.

“Joe is going to go back regardless,” Renae said.

“That is why logistically it could be a bit of a nightmare, but I have a very supportive family here in Melbourne who are willing to help out if Australian selection comes.

“I will have to push my flights now as we were due to take trips back to Salt Lake City in September as a family.

Collingwood supporters were disappointed to see Ash Brazill miss selection, but selectors went with other wing defences in Ingles, Gabi Simpson, Jess Anstiss and Jamie-Lee Price - the latter two are new additions to the Diamonds along with defensive ace Sarah Klau.

Magpies stars April Brandley, KIm Ravaillion and Caitlin Thwaites were named as expected.

Australian Diamonds squad

Goalers: Caitlin Bassett, Tegan Philip, Caitlin Thwaites, Gretel Tippett, Stephanie Wood.
Centre court: Jessica Anstiss, Renae Ingles, Kate Maloney, Jamie-Lee Price, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Liz Watson.
Defenders: April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau, Emily Mannix, Jo Weston.

Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.

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