Australian captain Laura Geitz has praised the determination of her teammates after the Diamonds levelled up the 2013 Constellation Cup series against New Zealand.
The Diamonds are returning home high on confidence after ending their five-Test losing streak with a 47-45 win over the Silver Ferns in Auckland.
The series now heads to Australia for the remaining three Tests in Adelaide (October 4), Melbourne (October 7) and Canberra (October 13).
Having been beaten 55-51 in the first Test down at Invercargill earlier in the week, Geitz said in the lead-up to Thursday night’s encounter the team stressed the importance of not going two matches down.
“There was a lot of pride on the line for us as a younger playing group,” Geitz said.
“We’ve got a very strong winning culture in the Diamonds. I think we felt like we had let that down a little bit on Sunday (first Test), we felt as though we didn’t play up to the standard that the Diamonds have set.
“The law was definitely laid down this week at training and I think, as a playing group, we really took it upon ourselves to take responsibility for what we were doing out on court.
“The most pleasing thing for us is that the 12 of us know that when it’s tight we can fight back and win those games.”
Scores were level at quarter-time and half-time before the Diamonds wrested control of the match in the third term to open up a five-goal lead heading into the final term.
The Silver Ferns fought back in the last quarter, getting back within two goals with just under a minute left in the match.
But defender Bianca Chatfield, who was named player of the match, pulled off a game-saving intercept and the Diamonds held onto win.
Geitz said she never thought Australia had the result wrapped up.
“I don’t think in a Test match against New Zealand that you ever think you’ve got the game – you’re beaten if that’s how you think,” she said.
“A Test match can swing so quickly, which we saw in the last three minutes. We had the confidence in each other that we could win but definitely not the arrogance that we had won the game, which I think is the right frame of mind against the Silver Ferns.”
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said the result would give her squad a lot of belief heading home.
“I think it was a really gutsy performance” Alexander said of the second Test win.
“There were times where they would have been questioning themselves but they came through and showed that belief which we’ve been speaking about.
“It’s really important for us to know that we can do that, we can dig deep and keep applying scoreboard pressure. We know that we can turn ball over but what we’ve got to do is execute scoreboard pressure.”
Both teams have a fortnight to prepare for the third Test and Alexander hopes the home court advantage will help the Diamonds wrest back the Constellation Cup off the Silver Ferns.
“Certainly being back in our home country gives us a slight advantage but the Silver Ferns play very well in Australia,” Alexander admitted.
“The Silver Ferns have got lots of fans over there and they have a lot of pride in their performance. I know that they’re going to be disappointed with that and will hit us back hard.”