NETBALL: Caitlin Bassett will lead the Australian Diamonds as captain in the upcoming Quad Series and Constellation Cup with incumbent captain Sharni Layton having time away from the game because of exhaustion.
The updated leadership group was announced on Friday morning by Netball Australia, with Madi Robinson and Gabi Simpson named vice-captains, while Layton still remains part of the group.
Goal shooter Bassett, who won the inaugural Super Netball title with the Sunshine Coast Lightning this year, becomes the 24th Australian netballer to captain the national team and is the second West Australian since Jill McIntosh captained the side in 1982.
The Diamonds start this year's Quad Series against New Zealand, England and South Africa next Saturday in Brisbane against England.
It will be Bassett's first match as captain and the start of the Diamonds' campaign to defend their Commonwealth Games title next year on the Gold Coast and the World Cup in Liverpool in 2019.
"The fact that it's a team vote gives me so much confidence," Bassett said.
"In a group that has such strong leaders, I was really humbled and honoured to be chosen from them. There is no higher honour than being chosen by your teammates.
"It's an exciting period for the Diamonds, as we have so many fresh faces, all challenging for a place in the team ahead of a big two years with the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup Liverpool 2019."
Coach Lisa Alexander said she would work closely with Bassett, Robinson and Simpson to ensure Australia has the best preparation for the next couple of years.
"It's going to be critical to have a strong leadership group over the next 12 months," Alexander said.
"We will work closely with the leadership group ensure that we take care of all the details.
"I am really proud of the three of them. They are passionate about playing for their country, this is what drives them."