Diamonds ready to open series strong

2015 World Netball Cup Day 6 Australian V South Africa Caitlin Thwaites

Date: Saturday 27 August
Time: 3.15pm NZT centre pass
Venue: Vector Arena, Auckland
Broadcast: Fox Sports 2, Netball Live app (subscribers only)

The Australian Diamonds open their Netball Quad Series campaign against South Africa Spar Proteas on Saturday at Vector Arena in Auckland.

The two teams last met in the Qualification Rounds of Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015, where the Diamonds were victorious 66 – 31. Only two members of the Diamonds’ starting seven from this meeting have been named in the Quad Series team.

Expect the unexpected from the Diamonds, who are boasting a versatile team. Two uncapped players could make their Diamonds’ debut; Kristiana Manu’a and Stephanie Wood.

Keep an eye out for the vocal Gabi Simpson, who is emerging as a key midcourter in the Diamonds’ line-up. Simpson plays with athleticism and vigor and will do all she can to stop the ball from reaching the opposition’s shooters.

The uncapped Stephanie Wood could also be a game changer, with the ability to be injected and instantly make an impact on a game. Her cool, calm and collected nature in the goal circle shows maturity beyond her years.

The Diamonds will be eager to stamp their authority on the Netball Quad Series, with a Test in Adelaide against England and in Melbourne against the Silver Ferns next week.

From the coach:

“We expect a hard-fought contest against South Africa. Their team has gone from strength to strength under Norma Plummer’s leadership.

“Our Diamonds have put in the hard yards in the lead up to this series and the coaching staff are confident in our preparation.

“All 12 players will be ready to step out onto court on Saturday in numerous combinations.

“We will relish the moment when we stand arm in arm and sing our national anthem on court.”

Fast Facts

  • Australia has played South Africa 32 times, winning 31 games by a margin of 11 goals or more

  • Last time they played, Australia

  • Australia has played at Vector Arena eight times, with a 50 per cent winning record.

  • Coach Lisa Alexander will coach her 54th Australian Test Match, becoming the fourth most experienced Australian Netball Team coach, overtaking Wilma Shakespear.