Diamonds ready for Constellation Cup opener

(Getty Images)

Date: Thursday 5 October
Venue: Spark Arena (formally Vector Arena), Auckland
Time: 7.45pm NZDT centre pass (5.30pm AEDT TV coverage)
Watch: 9Gem, Netball Live App

The netball world eagerly awaits the series opener of the Constellation Cup, with the Samsung Diamonds out to right the wrongs of their Netball Quad Series loss.

Last time they met, the Silver Ferns stunned the Diamonds with a 10-goal victory in Invercargill, leaving Diamonds unsatisfied with their performance. It resulted in the Ferns claiming the Netball Quad Series title and their first trophy over the Diamonds since 2012.

The midcourt has been injected with Caitlyn Nevins and potential debutant Kate Moloney, bringing the total number of travelling athletes to 13. Nevins has been named in the final 12 for the first Test. Coach Lisa Alexander and national selectors have also opted for Susan Pettitt and Stephanie Wood in goal attack, a change in place prior to the Netball Quad Series.

Test 1 Team
Caitlin Bassett
April Brandley
Courtney Bruce
Emily Mannix
Caitlyn Nevins
Susan Pettitt
Kim Ravaillion
Gabi Simpson
Caitlin Thwaites
Liz Watson
Jo Weston
Stephanie Wood

The Diamonds connections were stifled against the Ferns in Invercargill, and they will need to keep these tight in order to overcome the kiwis. Whilst the Ferns have played further tests, with an additional three games against the England Roses in the Taini Jamieson Trophy, the Diamonds have been hard at work, training in their home states and continuing their analysis as a group.

The contest between tall timbers captain Caitlin Bassett and youngster Kelly Jury will be one to keep a close eye on. With barely a centimetre separating the two, the Diamonds have had to reassess their feeds into the circle, in order to avoid Jury’s large wingspan.

Each time the Samsung Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns meet, the contest is tough, tight and unpredictable. It’s anyone’s game, with both teams out to make a strong start to the Constellation Cup and put their stamp of authority on world netball.

From the coach-

On their opponent…

“The Silver Ferns put out a strong performance in the Netball Quad Series, and we know that victory will give them confidence. They will have strengthened since then, with three extra tests against England. We are certainly wary of the Ferns; they will be dangerous on their home turf, with a home crowd.”

On bouncing back after a loss…

“We didn’t play our game on our terms against the Ferns in Invercargill, we played into their hands and there were too many errors. We absolutely were disappointed with the performance we put out there, so rest assured we won’t let that happen again. There has been much talk about this game, but we are ready to put our lessons into action and use it to spur us on to start the Constellation Cup strong.”

On the approach opening test…
“We will need to bring our smarts, sharp skills and our true Australian grit to the opening test. We have done a lot of analysis and know what we need to work on in order to put out a game we can be proud of. You’ll see plenty of different combinations across the court, which will be critical in the lead up to next April’s Commonwealth Games. Think of it as a bit of a chess game, from both teams.”

Fast Facts

  • Australia has an average winning margin of 8.4 goals against New Zealand.
  • New Zealand has an average winning margin of 6.9 goals against Australia.
  • Should Kate Moloney take to court, she will become the 174th athlete to represent Australia.
  • Lisa Alexander will become the third most experienced Australian coach, coaching her 67th Alexander’s coaching record is 66 games, 53 wins and 14 losses, with an 82% winning record

The Diamonds will face the Silver Ferns in the opening match of the 2017 Constellation Cup at 5.30pm AEDT Thursday 5 October. Watch live on 9Gem and the Netball Live app. Tickets are available for the third and fourth Tests in Adelaide and Sydney. Get tickets now.