Australian Diamonds duo Madi Robinson and Tegan Caldwell are both expecting a fired-up New Zealand to take to the court at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena tonight in the opening match of the Real Insurance Netball Test Series.
The Diamonds lead the four-match Constellation Cup series 1-0 after winning the opening match by 17 goals in Invercargill last Thursday night.
But Robinson is expecting the Silver Ferns to hit back strongly tonight and knows that the Diamonds must play with the same level of intensity they showed last week if they’re to stretch their winning streak to seven Tests against their trans-Tasman rivals.
A win to Australia will see it take a 2-0 lead into the third match at Sydney’s Allphones Arena on Saturday night (11 October).
“We know that a wounded Silver Fern is very dangerous and that they’ll be coming out firing and wanting to put a really good performance out there,” Robinson, who was Player of the Match in the opening Test of the Constellation Cup Series, said.
“They play very well in Melbourne. It must be something about being here that New Zealand loves so we know that it’s going to be a lot of hard work and we’ve got to get that good start again and make sure we put the pressure on them from the first centre pass.
“It would be lovely to go to Sydney and be leading 2-0 but we know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and we definitely can’t get complacent. We want to keep the throttle on.”
Caldwell said Diamonds’ coach Lisa Alexander wants the team to constantly keep improving each time they step out on court.
“We’ve set the bar pretty high after our last game in New Zealand so we want to keep improving and going upwards,” Caldwell said.
Tonight’s Test will be the first match the Diamonds have played in Australia since winning the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in Glasgow in August and Robinson said the team is excited about thanking the fans for their support during that campaign.
“Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia and we’re very proud that we get to play here,” Robinson said.
“There are a lot of die-hard, fanatical netball fans here in Melbourne so it will be an exciting opportunity to get out there and show them exactly why we won that gold medal, this is what the future is for the Diamonds and how exciting it is and encourage them to take the journey with us.
“This series is definitely about winning, but it’s also about building for the Netball World Cup in Sydney next year.
“Each game is an opportunity to get out and play as a team and make sure we’re improving and challenging one another and building on every performance.”
The 2014 Constellation Cup continues on Wednesday 8 October when the Australian Diamonds host the Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena, Melbourne, from 7.00pm (AEST). The match will be shown live on FOX Sports and SBS2 and also broadcast live on ABC Grandstand online.