Diamonds have work to do against Malawi

Constellation Cup Game 5 Australia Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns

Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says there is still work to do after her side triumphantly wrapped up the Constellation Cup series 4-1 with a thrilling one-goal victory over the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Sunday.

The Australians, who claimed its fourth consecutive win over New Zealand for the first time in 15 years, must now back up from the hard fought five-Test Constellation Cup series with a two-Test series against Malawi.

“We took a brief moment to acknowledge our Constellation Cup achievement last night as a group but we know our job isn’t done yet with two-Tests against the Malawi Queens this week,” Alexander said.

“The challenge for us is to back up and adapt to Malawi’s unique style while maintaining our intensity and development in our last international series before next year’s Commonwealth Games.

“At the beginning of our domestic international season we set our sights on winning all five Tests on home soil so we’ve still got work ahead of us beginning on Wednesday night in Wollongong.”

Malawi, ranked fifth in the world, have arrived as they prepare for its first ever series against the Diamonds in Australia with Tests in Wollongong on Wednesday and the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Australia has only played the African nation on three previous occasions, with the last meeting coming at the 2011 World Netball Championships, where the Diamonds defeated Malawi 58-44.

“We can’t afford to get complacent because Malawi play an exciting brand of netball, their unique style and creative flair makes it difficult to predict and defend against,” Alexander said.

The Diamonds will be without vice-captain Bianca Chatfield and rising star Kimberley Ravaillion for the two Tests against Malawi with the pair given the series off to rest after long seasons.

Australia welcome Demelza McCloud, who’s last Test appearance came eight years ago, and debutant Paige Hadley for the series.

The Australian Diamonds take on the Malawi Queens at the WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong, on Wednesday night from 8.00pm (AEDST). Tickets are available from Ticketek on www.ticketek.com.au, by phone on 132 849, and any Ticketek outlet.