The Australian Diamonds have booked a semi finals berth against trans-Tasman rivals the New Zealand Silver Ferns, with the winner progressing to the gold medal match on Sunday 15 April.
It will be the first time in Commonwealth Games history that Australia will face New Zealand in a semi-final, a battle traditionally reserved for gold.
All five Commonwealth Games gold medals have been contested between the two nations, Australia victorious in 1998, 2002 and 2014, New Zealand in 2006 and 2010.
The journey to finals has been different for each team. The Diamonds were undefeated during the preliminary rounds, finishing atop their pool. Head coach Lisa Alexander has kept the opposition guessing, with a different starting seven and all 12 athletes used in every game. Conversely, the Ferns suffered a shock loss to Malawi and fell to England, finishing second in their pool.
According to Liz Watson the Diamonds are wary of the Ferns and expect a rivalry stronger than ever.
“It has always been that Australian New Zealand rivalry – it’s still there no matter what game, if it’s the gold medal match or the finals… it’s going to be tough,” Watson said.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we’re going to just push on and give a great game.”
The two sides have played each other 22 times since the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow 2014.
They know each other’s game inside out, and last met in England at the Netball Quad Series, the Diamonds victorious 67-48.
“What has happened in the rounds is behind us now, the finals are a whole new ball game,” explained Watson.
“We know they are going to come out firing and we have spoken about what they are going to bring. They have lots of experience (within the team) and have lots of experience against us a team as well, so they know how well we play and know our strengths too,” she said.
The Diamonds play New Zealand on Saturday 14 April at 5.00pm AEST at Coomera Indoor Sports Centre. Tune in live on 7TWO or the 7Comm Games app.