After a strong first win in the 2018 Netball Quad Series over the South Africa SPAR Proteas, Samsung Diamonds Head Coach Lisa Alexander has expressed her satisfaction with the efforts of the team, especially with debutante Diamond Kelsey Browne.
The Samsung Diamonds claimed at 17-goal victory over South Africa at Spark Arena in Auckland this afternoon, after what was a tightly-contested first half.
Alexander expected the first game to be hard-fought and is impressed with how the team came together in the first match of the International Series.
“Getting back together as a national team takes that little bit of time, to get the nerves and the cobwebs out, so onward and upwards from here,” she said.
“The team really implemented what we have been planning all week and did it all very, very well and we came away with a great win at the end.”
Alexander paid credit to Samsung Diamonds debutante Kelsey Browne who came on at half time and played a key role in the team’s strong third quarter performance.
“We needed a little bit more speed up in the attacking third and I think Kelsey provided that really nice drive to the circle edge and just provided different timing for our attack end to work with,” she said.
“Given Caitlin (Bassett), Steph (Wood) and Kelsey play together at the Lightning, that timing has been there all year and it’s been pretty sweet so we’re happy with how it came together today.”
Samsung Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett mirrored her coaches’ opinion in complimenting Browne on her performance.
“She is an exciting player, she has the X-factor and she has speed to burn so I think it just changed the timing up a little bit more in attack, which was great, and I think it was a great first outing for her first cap,” Bassett said.
“It was a very tight first half and credit to South Africa, they’ve developed into a very tough side to play against and it did take until the third quarter to open up – but I think it was our defensive pressure that gave us that edge.”
Browne was honoured to be out there in the green and gold for the first time as Diamond #175 and made sure she took a moment to reflect on the importance of playing for her country.
“It was very exciting for me to get out there – when Lisa came in at half-time and said, ‘you’re on’ I had a moment to myself and thought – ‘I’m about to play for Australia’,” she said.
“Playing for Australia means a lot to me – it’s been a tough journey to get here and it’s definitely something I’ve been working towards for the last few years and something I’m really proud of – I’m keen to make sure that I bring my style of play to the Diamonds team.
“I had a moment where I saw AUS on the back of someone’s dress and I got a little bit emotional but it’s all very exciting to be out there and I feel like I’ve slotted into the team really well with the help of the girls.”
Looking forward now the Samsung Diamonds take on the England Roses in Newcastle on Wednesday evening for the first time since the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal match.
The game will be broadcast live on 9GEM at 7:30pm (AEST).