England have named a 12-strong netball squad to take on world champions Australia in their first international matches of this Commonwealth Games year.
England will host Australia in contests in Liverpool, Nottingham and London in next month’s Co-operative International Netball Series.
The games are an important part of England’s build-up to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.  
The squad was named following a two-day training camp in Sheffield and features seven members of the England squad that won the bronze medal at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, when they beat Jamaica 53-52 in a thrilling third place match.
Karen Atkinson and Sonia Mkoloma are co-captains of the squad, which also features Sara Bayman, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Louisa Brownfield, Jade Clarke, Pamela Cookey, Rachel Dunn, Stacey Francis, Tamsin Greenway, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor.
England coach Sue Hawkins said: “We put the squad through their paces at the weekend and I believe after some tough decisions we’ve selected a sharp twelve. I have no doubt that these players will give it their best game against Australia to come out at the top.”
The two teams last met at the University of Bath in October, when Australia ran out 55-44 winners.
Co-captain Mkoloma captain added: “It was only a few months ago that we played Australia in an international series in Bath and once again we proved we have what it takes to strongly compete with them.
“This international is crucial to see where we are in terms of Commonwealth Games preparation and the squad is excited about a massive competition in three brilliant arenas.”
The England v Australia fixtures take place as follows:
19th February - Liverpool Arena

21st February - Nottingham Trent FM Arena

23rd February - O2 London

The 2010 Commonwealth Games take place in Delhi, India, from 3 to 14 October 2010. They will feature 17 sports - archery, aquatics (swimming, synchronised swimming & diving), athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, table tennis, tennis, weightlifting and wrestling. With the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Commonwealth Games England is entering a breath-taking four years of sport.

Commonwealth Games England (GCE) is the organisation responsible for selecting and organising England's team at the Commonwealth Games. Team England finished second to Australia on the medal table at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games with 36 golds, 40 silvers and 34 bronzes.

Sport England is a major funder of the England team at the Commonwealth Games.
Sport England is responsible for building the foundations of sporting success, by creating a world-leading community sport system of clubs, coaches, facilities and volunteers. Their focus is growing and sustaining the numbers of people taking part in sport and improving talent development to help more people excel.
For further information about England Netball please see www.englandnetball.co.uk

For further information about Commonwealth Games England please contact the Commonwealth Games England press office at Matchtight Ltd on 07765 071683 or 07831 755351 or see the CGE’s website at www.weareengland.org <http://www.weareengland.org>