“There’s been a fire in the belly for the past few weeks in preparing for this match”

Samsung Australian Diamonds vice-captain Gabi Simpson is looking forward to taking to the court this evening when her team meets the England Roses for the first time since their one-goal gold medal match loss at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year.

Simpson spoke yesterday about what tonight’s much-anticipated 2018 Netball Quad Series game means to not only her, but the whole Australian team.

“Tomorrow is really important to us to be honest – that game really hurt us at the Commonwealth Games and there’s been a fire in the belly for the past few weeks in preparing for this match,” she said.

“We’re all really excited to take the court. We’ve got three new players in the team (Kelsey Browne, Gretel Tippett and Emily Mannix) who add extra strength and extra variety in our game and it’s very exciting.

“England are strong right across the court. They’ve got Geva Mentor at the back, Serena Guthrie in the middle and Jo Harten (now ruled out of match) in goal shooter, so that brings strength from the start to finish and we need to make sure that we can step up across the whole court, all the way from goal shooter to goal keeper.”

Simpson has full faith that her team has what it takes to come away with the win.

“As the Australian Diamonds team, we’re always trying to be better and that’s the point that we’re trying to prove to ourselves every single time we step out onto the court,” she said.

“We’re playing for each other and we want to be better than we were in our last game.”

Samsung Australian Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander also spoke of the team’s focused approach to this match.

“We’re really controlling our own destiny with this game – we’ve gone in with a very clear game plan and we need to execute it with great intensity and that wonderful gold wall of defence,” she said.

“We need to make sure that we’re breaking connections for the English the best we can from the get-go.”

Both Simpson and Alexander are looking forward to the atmosphere that the sold-out Newcastle crowd will bring to the Samsung Diamonds second match of the Quad Series.

“It’s so great that we’re going to be packed out at Newcastle, they’re such passionate supporters and we know they’ll be right behind us,” Simpson said.

“Newcastle feels like home to me, I have family here and it’s something that’s very special to me – I’m here every year for Christmas so it’s fantastic to be able to play in front of my family but also all of the amazing people here in Newcastle.”

The game at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre is live tonight on 9GEM at 7.30PM.

The final matches of the 2018 Netball Quad Series, involving all four nations, are taking place at Melbourne Arena this Sunday 23 September.

Click HERE for tickets, or tune into Channel Nine (or 9GEM in Perth) at 1PM to watch the Samsung Diamonds take on the New Zealand Silver Ferns live.

England will take on South Africa at 11am Sunday 23 September and can be watched live on 9GEM.