Diamonds can learn from gutsy victory says Geitz

Constellation Cup Game 5 Australia Diamonds v New Zealand Silver Ferns

Australia ’s thrilling victory in the fifth and final Test of the Constellation Cup series is perfect preparation for what the Diamonds could expect at next year’s Commonwealth Games, according to captain Laura Geitz.

Their come-from-behind one-goal victory in Canberra gave Australia a 4-1 series win.

But Geitz said the match was a valuable lesson for the squad looking ahead to next year’s Games in Glasgow should they face the Silver Ferns at the business end of the competition.

“Both teams were tired,” Geitz said.

“Just the way this Test series has been structured is perfect practice for us. It’s what happens at a Comm Games – you’re tired on that last day and that’s when you’ve got to get up (for the Gold Medal play-off).

“So for us to win that game by one goal gives us such confidence that even though were tired, we can come through with the goods.”

Geitz said the win also highlighted the depth the Diamonds had on their bench for the series.

Goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites started at goal shooter in her Test debut on home soil and played a half before replaced by Caitlin Bassett.

Goal attack Erin Bell came in the last quarter – her first appearance since the first Test – to help the Diamonds overhaul the Silver Ferns with some crucial goals.

Having sat on the bench for the previous six quarters of the series, reigning Liz Ellis Diamond winner Madison Browne played three quarters in centre before shifting to wing attack for the last term.

“I just have to say to Erin Bell, who just came on and sunk that long bomb (goal), that just lifted the team and you could tell that was the turning moment out there,” she said.

“We had (former Diamonds captain) Liz Ellis come in and speak to us about her experience in the team and she mentioned in their world championship win of 2007, there was changes made left, right and centre at every time out and that didn’t unsettle the team.

“They knew whatever combination that was put out there would settle straight away. So for us to go out there and do that, at the risk of repeating and saying it gives us a lot of confidence, it does. Any combination can be put out on court and do the job.

“That’s good in the sense that we’ve got so much depth, but it also pushes the girls out on court. They know they’ve got to perform to stay out there.”

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said being able to try different combinations and seeing them work successfully was also a timely pointer for the Commonwealth Games.

“We needed to do that because the journey hasn’t finished yet. This (Constellation Cup series) is part of the journey and to not put those athletes out there would have been a wasted opportunity,” Alexander said.

“Erin’s shooting under pressure in that last eight minutes was sensational and you to have to think about what you’re going to do as a coach. At that stage I thought we’ve got to give her an opportunity and Nat (Medhurst) was getting tired so we pulled the trigger and it’s a credit to the girls to settle quickly and get into it.

“I knew Erin was ready, so it was terrific for her.

“We still haven’t put our best performance together yet and that’s a good thing for us. We’re still building towards the terrific performance and we’re trying to make sure that happens in a gold medal final in Glasgow.”

The Coles Netball Test Series continues this week when the Australian Diamonds take on the Malawi Queens at Wollongong (October 16) and the Gold Coast (October 19) in their final international appearances for 2013.