Diamonds wary of old foes ahead of pool clash

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As far as Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander is concerned, there’ll be no holding back by her players in their crucial Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 showdown against arch rivals New Zealand this afternoon.

Not only is top spot in Pool A is up for grabs, it’s also a chance for the winner to gain an important psychological advantage over the other heading towards the finals.

Both teams head into the 2.20pm (AEST) match having won their opening two matches against Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados respectively.

The Diamonds have a chance to claim a 10th straight victory over the Silver Ferns and equal the best ever winning streak against their trans-Tasman rivals. Australia has not lost to New Zealand since September 2013 – and Alexander plans to keep it that way for at least another week.

“We want to win every game because it puts us in the best position for finals,” Alexander said.

“I’ve always subscribed to that: as a coach you don’t muck around with form and combinations just for the sake of it.

“I think you’ll see perhaps different line ups from both teams, a little bit of experimentation perhaps, a little bit of, I guess, shadow boxing before the main event later in the week. Both of us want to win, that’s pretty clear.

2015 _WNC_080815_0366Li“But at the end of the day it is part of the preliminary rounds so you can’t get too far ahead of yourselves.”

The Silver Ferns line-up will be different in many respects to what they’ve put out against the Diamonds in the past two Constellation Cup series and last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Defender Sharni Layton said their new-look shooting combination, including World Cup debutantes Bailey Mes and Malia Paseka, would present new challenges for the Diamonds’ defence.

“It’s exciting what they’ve brought over to Netball World Cup,” Layton said.

“They obviously wanted to change things up, compared to what they had last year, and they’ve obviously got a small and more moving circle, which we haven’t had to play against in a long time. I expect to see something different: there’s no way they’re going to go out and do the same thing.

“They’re a hugely talented netball nation that has a place in World Cup history and we have to make sure that we’re ready to take on whatever they’re willing to put out there. But I definitely reckon it’s going to be different.”

Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 will be broadcast in Australia on FOX SPORTS, Network TEN and via the Netball Live app, available to download from the App Store and Google Play. Check your local guides for match details.