The battle for a starting seven position

Samsung Australian Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander and her specialist coaches have a tough task on their hands in selecting a starting seven for the second Constellation Cup match tonight, against the New Zealand Silver Ferns in Townsville [7:30pm (AEST) and 6:30pm (ADST)].

The Diamonds demonstrated incredible versatility in the first match of the tournament in Brisbane on Sunday, with all 12 players taking to the court at some point during the game.

Speaking in Townsville yesterday, Alexander spoke of the strong depth of players within the current Australian team and squad.

“We’re really fortunate that we have got athletes that are prepared to come on and play their role no matter what and sometimes that means coming on at half time to inject that energy,” she said.

“The athletes are making sure their fighting for their positions within the team and also the squad looking ahead to the World Cup [2019], so they’ve got to put on great performances out there.

“I thought Gretel Tippett and Caitlin Thwaites did a fabulous job together and showed really great timing together, particularly in that third quarter, that’s when we really got that score on the board against New Zealand.”

Despite a dominant display last time out, Alexander said that the Samsung Diamonds will not be complacent in their approach to the rest of the tournament.

“In this group, what we’re trying to engender is a growth and learning mindset, that we’re never where we want to be, that we know we have to keep getting better and that if we don’t and we stand still, the other teams are going to catch up,” she said.

“We’re all switched onto the fact that we have to improve and that keeps us very motivated to really stretch ourselves, to try and get better and to make sure we’re looking after those mistakes we make, figuring out how we make that work better together.”

Captain Caitlin Bassett reiterated this approach, explaining how the Samsung Diamonds are always looking to improve on their last performance.

“As Diamonds, we always want to be better and from every game we have, we can always find some learnings and we did our review and there were some great things – but there is definitely some room for growth as well.”

Kate Moloney is excited to take on New Zealand after having a brilliant match on Sunday in Brisbane, in what was her first start for the Samsung Diamonds.

“Whenever we play against the Ferns, we always know they’re going to come out firing,” she said.

“That traditional rivalry between Australia and New Zealand is huge and we know they’ll go away after that first match and look at the areas that they can work on and I have no doubt they’ll come out hungrier than they did last time.”

The Samsung Diamonds will take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns this evening, Wednesday 10 October at 7:30pm (AEST) and 6:30pm (ADST) live on 9GEM and the Netball Live app.

Tonight’s game will be the first time that international netball will feature in Townsville.

Lisa Alexander: “This is such an important part of what we do, wherever we go in Australia we make sure we engage with the local netball communities to help inspire all the young girls and women – they love the opportunity to engage with Australia’s best.”

Caitlin Bassett: “We find extra pleasure going to the smaller regional places. The love they give to us when we go to these regional towns is awesome and it brings you back to the reason you play netball. The people in these places are so passionate about sport, it’s a way of life out here.”