Australia’s victory over New Zealand in the second Test of the Constellation Cup series was especially sweet for young star Kim Ravaillion.
It was the first time in five Tests – since making her international debut back in January – that Ravaillion had been on a winning side in the green and gold.
The 20-year-old played a prominent role in the Diamonds two-goal win over the Silver Ferns in Auckland on September 19, earning a starting seven spot and nullifying one of New Zealand’s key playmakers Laura Langman.
Ravaillion admitted after playing in losses in her first four Tests – three against England and the opening match of this year’s Constellation Cup – she was starting to feel like a jinx around the side.
“I guess I did think I was a bit of a bad luck charm, but that’s broken now,” Ravaillion said.
“To finally get that win was the best feeling and I guess knowing that we have a win under the belt makes me feel a lot more confident and stronger going into the next Test.”
Ravaillion is set to make her Test debut for Australia on home soil when the series resumes in Adelaide on October 4.
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Ravaillion, who this time last year had only just been offered her first ANZ Championship contract with the Queensland Firebirds.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said it would be a special moment for Ravaillion to step out on court as an Australian player in front of a home crowd.
“When she gets that opportunity I’m sure she’ll enjoy it,” Alexander said.
“Anywhere we play in Australia is special. We love our fans, the spirit we feel from the crowd and support we feel from the crowd – that will be the first time that she’s felt that.”
While Ravaillion came up against Langman twice during her debut ANZ Championship season, she said matching up against her in a Test match was a whole different experience.
“Four quarters against Laura Langman was just non-stop running,” Ravaillion admitted. “She’s their (Silver Ferns) main player and if she’s out of the game, then they are. So four quarters was hard and tough, but the girls had my back and pulled me through.”
It was Ravaillion’s first appearance against New Zealand and Alexander said she handled the occasion in both matches quite well.
“When she came on in the first Test, we actually won three quarters and her connection with Nat Medhurst showed her class,” Alexander said.
“But then I guess she belied her experience in the Test in Auckland when she took on the task of playing on Laura Langman, which is no easy challenge.
“Part of her instructions were to defend and defend well and I think she did that.”
Alexander said the Diamonds’ coaching staff is pleased with Ravaillion’s progress but stressed the rising star still had plenty to learn about coping with the demands of international netball.
“She’s still got lots of improvements to make, but she’s done a great job, She is now in the Australian team, she’s one of best centre courts in the country and she’s earned her spot,” Alexander said.
“She deserves it. She’s not there as a development player, she’s there and expected to perform. We just have to make sure we coach her well from this point on.
“It’s gradual improvements – we don’t expect miracles overnight, we just expect her to get better with each outing that she has.”
The third Test of the Constellation Cup will be played at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Friday, October 4 at 7.30pm (local time).