Future sparkle in first Test victory

Simpson slider

The Diamonds’ future looks bright after Australia’s six-goal victory over the Silver Ferns in the opening Test of the Constellation Cup at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Tuesday night.

The Diamonds’ midcourt averaged just 22 years old in the first meeting between the two sides since the Netball World Cup final with Kim Ravaillion, Paige Hadley and Gabi Simpson reunited on the international stage for the first time since 2013.

The trio were all members of Australian 21-under team who won the silver medal at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championship in Glasgow, Scotland.

Simpson became the 164th Australian international representative on Tuesday when she was introduced midway through the second quarter following an injury to Diamonds vice-captain Renae Ingles.

“It’s pleasing to see them get out in the open court and do such a fine job,” Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said in the post-match press conference.

Despite the loss of 153 international Test appearances since the World Cup following the retirements of Kim Green, Julie Corletto and Rebecca Bulley, the Diamonds extended their Constellation Cup winning streak to nine games.

“I had a moment out on court where I looked in front of me and just saw all these young guns and I thought ‘how fantastic that anyone can be given the bib and step up to do the job’,” Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said.

Ravaillion was the first of the three to make her international appearance when she debuted in the first Test of Australia’s Tour of England in 2013 before Hadley pulled on the green and gold for the first time against Malawi later that year.

The Australian Diamonds head to Auckland on Wednesday leading the four-Test Constellation Cup series 1-0 following the 50-44 victory over the Silver Ferns.