Diamonds vow to continue intensity in finale

15.10.2016 Silver Ferns Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Australia's Sharni Layton in action during the Silver Ferns v Australia netball test match played at Vector Arena in Auckland. Mandatory Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley.

The Diamonds line up against the Silver Ferns in their final Constellation Cup Test tonight, vowing to bring the intensity.

Coach Lisa Alexander has instructed her charges to be hungry for every ball, with the contest expected to step up another level.

“The message has been to the players that we need to bring the intensity that we brought to the Auckland match right from the beginning, in terms of that hunger for the ball, and that desire to win the contest individually and collectively,” said Alexander.

“If you’re slightly off that motivation level your opponent will get on top of you. We need to understand that.

“What we did well in Auckland as opposed to Launceston, was to make sure that we didn’t respond to our mistakes in a negative manner.

“We made sure that we were really defending very tightly then, because we have to recognize that mistakes will occur and it’s how you respond to those that really matters,” she explained.

According to Alexander, each encounter is different, and the Diamonds will be building upon lessons learnt throughout the series.

“I think we have to appreciate that each and every test match presents its own challenges and we can’t just repeat what we’ve done previously,” Alexander said.

“We learn the things that work and we learn the things that didn’t work. Each one is unique, there’s no doubt about that.”

The Diamonds are expecting the crowd at ILT Stadium Southland to be loud and firmly in favour of the Ferns, with steps in place to combat this.

Vice-captain and defender Sharni Layton says that it will be important for the team to stay connected out on court, and with their bench.

“It’s so important to stay connected when you are in a place like Invercargill, but it was the same in Auckland as well, a super loud crowd, who were very vocal supporting the Ferns,” said Layton.

“For us, it is not so much about our voices, it is about the touches, the eye contact, making sure we are all on the same page and that we have gestures that indicate what we are doing that doesn’t have to be vocally expressed.”

The final test of the Constellation Cup will be shown live on Fox Sports Australia and the Netball Live App. More details can be found here.

Photography: Michael Bradley