Diamonds ready for England challenge

KimGreen

The Australian Diamonds are expecting nothing less than a hard-fought physical contest from England in the opening game of the two-Test series at Bendigo Stadium, Bendigo, on Sunday.

The Diamonds, who are coming off a maiden Constellation Cup clean sweep against the Silver Ferns, will host the world number three in a rematch of the thrilling pool match at the Commonwealth Games.

In arguably the most exciting game of the tournament, Australia came from behind to down England in the final seconds to win by one goal en route to claiming the country’s first gold medal in 12 years.

“Coming off four games against New Zealand it’s nice to be able to play against a different opposition for a few games,” Diamonds acting-captain Kim Green said.

“We know that, going off the Commonwealth Games match, it’s going to be a really tough one and we expect nothing less.”

England, who’s only victory against the Diamonds in Australia came in 1981, will field a full strength side featuring ANZ Championship stars including Geva Mentor (Vixens), Jade Clarke (Swifts), Eboni Beckford-Chambers (Thunderbirds) and Jo Harten (Magic).

“We’ve played them previously out here but they haven’t been at full strength so it’s really exciting to see what we can do against them on our home courts,” Green said.

The Diamonds are chasing an 18th consecutive international victory on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out Bendigo Stadium – the first time a Test match has been played in country Victoria.

Despite the winning run, the streak isn’t a focus according to Green, who’s stepping into the captaincy role following an injury to skipper Laura Geitz.

“We haven’t put to much pressure on the whole winning streak, we’re not looking at that too much, just making sure that we continue our great form,” Green said.

“Any players we are putting out on court are doing such a great job and I expect nothing less either.

“We go into every game wanting to win but to finish off this year, which has been incredibly tough and hasn’t come easy, with victory would be really nice.”

The 2014 Real Insurance Netball Test Series resumes on Sunday when the Australian Diamonds host England in the first Test at Bendigo Stadium from 2.00pm (AEDT). Catch all the action live on FOX SPORTS, SBS 2 and ABC Grandstand.