Date: Saturday 28 January
Time: 3.00pm SAST centre pass
Venue: Durban International Convention Centre, Durban
Broadcast: 9Gem from 11.50pm AEDT Saturday 28 January
The 2017 international netball calendar will begin with a classic Australia versus New Zealand clash to be held in Durban, South Africa.
Neither team will hold a home-court advantage, however both will be determined to start the year with a win.
The two teams last met in October 2016, when the Diamonds claimed the Constellation Cup over the Ferns, winning 49 to 45 in Invercargill.
This time it’s a new-look Diamonds outfit, with Caitlin Bassett, Nat Medhurst and Madi Robinson all rested ahead of the Suncorp Super Netball season. You’ll see a different structure in attack, with vice-captain Caitlin Thwaites holding court in goal shooter, in combinations with the experienced Susan Pettitt and unconventional Gretel Tippett.
Keep an eye out for the match-up between April Brandley and Maria Tutaia. A quiet achiever, Brandley will be tasked with shutting down Tutaia as part of a full-team defensive effort. This battle will be key to stifling the Ferns’ attack.
The Diamonds will aim to keep their opponent guessing, through new combinations and fresh talent, with Courtney Bruce and Caitlyn Nevins both called into the team for the first time.
Tune in to watch the first test of 2017 live on 9Gem at 11.50pm AEDT on Saturday 28 January.
From the coach:
“Our first test will continue to build on our performances from last year to a certain extent, but it is a new look team. We’ve got to ensure that everybody understands their roles and how they are going to play. We have some very specific plans around how we want to take advantage of the strengths of the players that we have.
“Our attacking flow will be different and we see this as a good thing. The Silver Ferns won’t be quite as up to date with how to handle our attack.
“Gabi Simpson and Sharni Layton will be the experienced ones back in our defensive line. They will need to make sure their communication and unit work is spot on. It will take a full team performance and I expect our defenders to step up very well.”
- The Diamonds are the holders of the Netball Quad Series title, after the inaugural series was contested in August – September 2016
- The Netball Quad Series is a bi-annual international series, bringing together four of netball’s strongest nations; Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa.
- Sharni Layton will captain Australia for the first time, with Caitlin Thwaites as vice-captain for the first time.
- Courtney Bruce and Caitlyn Nevins are yet to debut for Australia. The next debutant will be the 171st player to represent Australia.