The Constellation Cup may be back in Australia’s hands, but star wing defence Renae Hallinan said the Diamonds expect another intense contest against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the fifth and final Test at Canberra on Sunday.
It’s the first Trans-Tasman clash being played in the nation’s capital with the Diamonds aiming to wrap up the series 4-1 by winning their fourth consecutive Test against the Silver Ferns for the first time since 1998.
Hallinan said the history of the rivalry between the two countries would ensure New Zealand won’t be treating the game as a dead rubber.
“The Australia-New Zealand rivalry in all sports is very strong obviously and netball is probably one of those best contested rivalries,” Hallinan said.
“Anytime you step out on court against the Silver Ferns you know that bodies are going to be put on thje line and its going to be a fast, hard, sharp game where everybody has to put there what they have to win.
“That’s what Sunday will be about so Canberra can look forward to an exciting tussle between both sides wanting to win.
“We want to win four (Tests) in a row because we want to win the next match. It’s not about what has or hasn’t happened in the past. It’s nice to get those accolades but for us, each and every time we walk out on court it’s about us producing good 60 minutes of netball and beating our opposition.
“We’d really like to finish off the series with another win and, hopefully, get everyone out on court.”
The 27-year-old Hallinan is arguably playing career-best netball – even better than her 2009 season when she was named the Australian International Player of the Year.
She said what’s more important is that the team is performing well and that coach Lisa Alexander has plenty of options in each position on court.
“We’ve had a really enjoyable tour and have certainly put a lot of hard work in place and its nice to see it coming together on court,” Hallinan said.
“I think we’ve got a great group together at the moment. Everybody has got the same goal and that’s to win the Commonwealth Games (gold medal) next year.
“It’s a very strong belief in this group, from both players and the coaching staff, that there are 12 players ready to go at any time and we don’t think, regardless of who’s on the court, that we lose anything out there.
“The most exciting thing about all of it is we just have so much room for improvement so look out for Sunday.”
The 2013 Constellation Cup will conclude on Sunday when the Australian Diamonds take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Canberra’s AIS Arena. The final Test will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS 3 (Channel 503) and SBS 1 from 2pm.
Despite the Canberra Test being sold out, tickets for the Australian Diamonds live site, which features a big screen, fun activities and a visit from the Diamonds post-match, are still available via Ticketek at www.ticketek.com.au, on 132 849 or at any Ticketek outlet.