Diamonds have eyes on prize and future

EB web

The Australian Diamonds will have one eye on retaining the Constellation Cup and the other on the future when the four-Test series gets underway in Christchurch on Tuesday.

The 2015 Constellation Cup against the Silver Ferns will give the reigning world champions the opportunity to experiment according to Australian shooter Erin Bell.

“The Constellation Cup is a great chance to mix it up and throw something new out there,” Bell said ahead of Diamonds training in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.

“(Versatility) is really important for the next four year cycle so this is a new start and a chance for us to see what we can do.

“We don’t want to be predictable and be the same-same when we go up against the Kiwis.”

Following the international retirement of Kim Green, the new look and fresh-faced midcourt will feature three of the brightest young starts in Kim Ravaillion, Paige Hadley and Gabi Simpson.

Bell, one of five shooters in the 12-player team, believes the attackers can provide additional support and experience in the midcourt for the Constellation Cup.

“At World Cup we had a pretty set combination but with a few retirements now we’re looking at what else we can do within this squad with these players,” Bell said.

“The good thing about these five shooters is that we can all pretty much go between the midcourt as well.”

The uncapped Simpson celebrated her 23rd birthday with new teammates on Saturday in Christchurch.

“Everyone spoilt me, they’re such fantastic girls and they looked after me well,” Simpson said.

“Laura (Geitz) told me she was going to annoy me by see how many times she could say happy birthday and I said ‘Geitzy, that’s not annoying’.

The Firebird, who will have mum, dad, sister and best friend in attendance for the opening Test, is hoping those celebrations continue with an international debut on Tuesday.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the Diamonds’ Commonwealth Games and World Cup lead up as a training partner so I’m no stranger to environment but it’s cool that I’ll actually get to be in the team which is exciting,” Simpson said.

“I’m so excited to stand there on the transverse line and sing the national anthem with these amazing girls around me.”

The Australian Diamonds take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the 2015 Constellation Cup, beginning in Christchurch on Tuesday 20 October at 5.30pm (AEDT). Catch all the action live on FOX SPORTS and on the Netball Live app, available from the App Store and Google Play.