The international debut of Gretel Tippett came as no surprise but it was a coaching masterstroke that proved a winner as the Australian Diamonds return home with a two-nil series lead.
Trailing late in the third quarter, coach Lisa Alexander turned to the bench and introduced Tippett for the first time but few saw her maiden appearance coming at wing attack.
Tippett, who scored the winning goal in the dying seconds to secure the Queensland Firebirds the 2015 ANZ Championship premiership, provided a unique figure in the midcourt.
“I think the change in the attack end was something very different to what maybe the Silver Ferns has seen or played against ever,” Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said post-match.
“Gretel is such a target, defensively the work she does in slowing the ball coming out of the attack gave a better opportunity of getting in a better position to either win or spoil some ball.
“She’s come from a basketball background so she’s an unorthodox player and a very hard player to defend.”
The former underage international basketballer, who only took up netball only four years ago, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the sport.
While her trademark layups were on ice in the second Test of the Constellation Cup, the 22-year-old still used her skills to her advantage in attack and defence.
“Having Gretel as a target in the attacking end just helped ease the pressure down there,” Alexander said.
“To have that height and her athleticism, also her defensive ability is really under estimated and really adds to the team so it’s terrific to have it.”
Tippett became Australia’s 165th international representatives as the Diamonds claimed a 10th consecutive Constellation Cup victory over the Silver Ferns.
The Australian Diamonds travel to Melbourne on Friday for the third Test of the 2015 Constellation Cup at Hisense Arena on Sunday. Watch live on ONE HD, Fox Sports and the Netball Live App.