Versatile Diamonds show depth

2016 Netball Quad Series Australian Diamonds v England

The versatility of the Diamonds was on show against the England Roses in Adelaide on Wednesday night, with all 12 players taking to court. 

Head coach Lisa Alexander, along with Assistant Coaches – Defensive Specialist Roselee Jencke and Specialist Shooting Coach Marg Caldow, opted for the same starting lineup as their opening test, but made the most of their team, rotating players through the second half of the game.

“The value in our lineup is that we have depth and variety,” explained acting Captain Clare McMeniman. “We probably have a little bit of unpredictability from that perspective and that’s an absolute asset for us to have. I think any player is happy to play anywhere within this lineup because we do have such strength.”

The third quarter saw the Diamonds shift the momentum of the game, with Clare McMeniman moving forward into wing defence and April Brandley into goal defence. The home side held possession for 57 per cent of the quarter, compared to 42-48 per cent possession in the other three terms.

The final term saw changes in the attacking half, with Liz Watson moving into centre and Stephanie Wood into goal attack.

With a masterstroke of coaching, recent debutant Kristiana Manu’a was injected at wing defence halfway through the final term, teaming up with April Brandley and Clare McMeniman in the Diamonds’ defensive unit.

“Clare really disrupted that work on the circle edge and really kept them off, she got some good hands over. She was terrific with April on that transverse line,” said Alexander.

Caitlin Thwaites also slotted in seamlessly at goal shooter, forming a strong connection with Wood, Watson and Madi Robinson.

“It was great to get the more inexperienced ones out there,” explained Alexander.

“Liz has different timing to Kim (Ravaillion) and I think that complimented everyone really nicely, especially when Caitlin (Thwaites) went into shooter, you saw that movement; her coming out and Steph taking her leads into the circle.”

 “There were some really nice passages of play there.”

Diamonds coaches will be faced with a difficult decision in selecting the starting seven for their third and final Test of the Netball Quad Series, to be played against New Zealand’s Silver Ferns on Sunday.

The Diamonds host the Silver Ferns at Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne this Sunday, with the winner to claim the Netball Quad Series. Tune in to watch the game live on ONE, Fox Sports Australia and the Netball Live App.