Chilly welcome, but straight to work for Diamonds

Sharni
It didn’t take Sharni Layton and her Australian Diamonds teammates long to acclimatise to the cold English winter.

The team walked off the plane into temperatures close to zero degree Celsius with snow falling in Manchester, the team’s training base ahead of the first Test against England in Liverpool later this week.

“When I left Sydney it was 40 degrees,” Layton said. “It was actually great to walk off a 24-hour flight into chilly air (but) we do have some great warm jackets and scarves to keep us nice and toasty.”

But it was quickly down to business for the Diamonds as they prepare to face the Roses in three Tests over the next week.

Both the Diamonds and England are entering new phases as they prepare for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and the 2019 Netball World Cup, being played in Liverpool.

“It’s a real rejuvenation process for Australia – and England as well,” Layton said.

“Both only have five players from the (2015) World Cup; we have a lot of new faces so it’s a bit unexpected what we’re going to see out there.

“We’re training hard and getting our combinations right. We’re really excited to moving forward into the next four years.”

Injury caused Layton to miss Australia’s 2013 tour of England, which the Diamonds lost 3-0.

While the Diamonds are the reigning Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup champions, Layton said the Roses would be tough opposition, especially on home soil.

“England has a whole new goal circle in (Rachel) Dunn and (Helen) Housby and those we haven’t seen a lot of,” Layton said.

“So it’s an unknown for us coming up against that. They’ve still got the experience of Jade Clarke, who I was lucky enough to play with at the NSW Swifts last year and is a real leader and a dominant player.

“They’re going to come out absolutely firing and we’ve got to be prepared for that.

“England have really stepped up in regards to their performances against us in recent years. Last time we were here it was 3-0 not in our favor so we can’t take this lightly.”

The Diamonds-England Test series will be broadcast live on Fox Sports and Network Ten. Fans can also subscribe to watch the games replayed on demand via the Netball Live App. Netball Live is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.