Diamonds can still polish up their game

Constellation Cup Game 3 Australia Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns

Despite having both hands on the Constellation Cup, Australian coach Lisa Alexander still believes there’s room for improvement with her team.

The Diamonds head into Sunday’s fifth and final Test at Canberra’s AIS Arena holding a 3-1 lead over the Silver Ferns, but Alexander said after the team’s training session today she’d be disappointed if her team dropped the final match.

The Diamonds have won the past three matches after losing the opening Test in New Zealand and are chasing their fourth straight win over the Silver Ferns for the first time since 1998.

“We have to keep our foot on the pedal, no doubt about that,” Alexander said.

“Our theme is stay on task because the task isn’t finished yet. Even though we’ve won the Constellation Cup, which is a fantastic achievement, we certainly need to press home that advantage and bring our best game out on Sunday.

“We haven’t quite reached that level of performance yet, so we’re really looking for that four quarter performance.

“We want to continue the confidence we’ve built as a group – you don’t want to take that for granted.”

Alexander said there are still areas of their game that the Diamonds can clean up.

“Our intensity and our pressure and our defence has been terrific and has forced them (New Zealand) into errors,” she said.

“However we haven’t put that together for 60 minutes. Our attacking play been pretty good.

“We’ve been able to work things out during the match which is really important – except for that first game in Invercargill – and we’ve had a really good go-to plan in our attack and the players been very disciplined in that.

“Our preparation will all be about winning.”

Alexander said she wouldn’t settle on her starting line-up until after the Diamonds have match practice on Friday.

Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said it’s a healthy sign about the strength of the line-up that there’s competition for spots right throughout the squad of 12.

“It’s a bit of a nightmare for Lisa that she’s got so many girls putting their hands up for positions,” Geitz said.

“The girls out on court are doing the job but there’s girls pushing at all of our training showing they’re capable of doing the job as well.”

Geitz said there was a positive vibe among the team having clinched the series.

“I don’t think we would be right in saying everything is perfect and we’re playing amazing netball,” she said.

“But at the same time we don’t want to be at that point just yet. Lisa has done a great job, along with the selectors, in putting a young group together and putting faith in that group and that young group is finally paying dividends.

“There’s been a great sense of enjoyment among the group and you can see that out on court. We want to carry that into the game on Sunday and moving forward.”

The 2013 Constellation Cup concludes on Sunday when the Australian Diamonds take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Canberra’s AIS Arena. The final Test will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 3 (Channel 503) and SBS 1 from 2pm.

Despite the Canberra Test being sold out, tickets for the Australian Diamonds live site, which features a big screen, fun activities and a visit from the Diamonds post-match, are still available via Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au, on 132 849 or at any Ticketek outlet.