Diamonds to face Proteas in series opener

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Date: Saturday 20 January
Venue: Copper Box Arena, London
Time: 3.30pm GMT centre pass (Australian coverage from 2.15am AEDT Sunday 21 January)
Watch: Live on Channel 9, 9Now and the Netball Live App
Replay: Telstra TV,  Netball Live App, 9Now

Set your alarms, the Samsung Diamonds are back for 2018! They kick-start their Netball Quad Series campaign against South Africa this weekend and we couldn’t be more excited.

Last year’s August Quad Series ended on a sour note for the Diamonds, losing the trophy to rivals New Zealand. They will be determined to make amends and bring the trophy back to Australian shores.

In their last encounter, South Africa put the Diamonds under immense pressure and led during the second quarter. The Proteas went on to beat England by three goals, showing the world that they are an emerging force.

The Diamonds have a different goaling line up from the last Quad Series, with Susan Pettitt, Stephanie Wood and Gretel Tippett all available to take the court alongside the two Caitlins -Bassett and Thwaites. The midcourt has also been injected by recent debutante Kate Moloney and experienced Netball World Cup campaigner Paige Hadley.

Watch out for Gabi Simpson against Proteas captain Bongiwe Msomi. After signing with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Msomi has begun pre-season training with Suncorp Super Netball. Will her shift to an Australian pre-season bring a greater understanding of the Australian style of play?

TEST ONE TEAM
Caitlin Bassett
April Brandley
Courtney Bruce
Emily Mannix
Kate Moloney
Susan Pettitt
Kim Ravaillion
Gabi Simpson
Caitlin Thwaites
Gretel Tippett
Liz Watson
Jo Weston

FROM THE COACH

“The Proteas are enormously respected by the Diamonds. We expect them to continue to grow, as they did between our two encounters last year. South Africa really challenged us the last time we played in Canberra. Although we won by six goals in the end, they led halfway through the game and pushed us right to the final whistle.

“There has been a lot of discussion around the Commonwealth Games lately, with our recent Simulation Camp. Now that we have touched down in London with our 14 touring athletes, our focus is laser sharp on our performance in this three-test Series. We are looking to emulate last year’s Constellation Cup, building on each and every game.”

FAST FACTS

  • Australia hasn’t played against South Africa in England since the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, winning 74-38.
  • Paige Hadley’s last test for the Diamonds was 5 February 2017 against England in the Netball Quad Series, played in Wembley.
  • Last time they played, 30 August 2017, South Africa led against the Diamonds from halfway through the second quarter until the beginning of the third.
  • The Diamonds won 9 of 10 tests in 2017, with one loss to New Zealand in the Netball Quad Series