The Australian Diamonds have picked up where they left off in 2018 with a 62-45 win against South Africa last night in the Northern Quad Series.
With captain Caitlin Bassett out with a fractured arm and the Netball World Cup just months away, coach Lisa Alexander mixed things up in search for that perfect starting seven.
“We really needed to mix things up and try some different combinations,” Alexander said.
“Caitlin Thwaites gives us a big target to work with at goal shooter whereas Steph is more mobile. Kelsey, Kate and Jamie-Lee give us a lot of speed through the wings and Gabi and Lizzy have that hard-edge to their play.”
Australia shook off a sluggish and rattled start to the game, which saw South Africa shooting at 100 percent in the first quarter.
The normally sharp attacking from the Diamonds was lacking and by the end of the opening quarter, the world number ones trailed by five.
However, the break seemed to be what was needed to kick the Aussies into another gear as the Diamonds settled into that familiar groove, storming back from five goals down to take a two-goal lead to lead at halftime.
With Jo Weston at goal defence, Courtney Bruce at goal keeper and young gun Jamie-Lee Price at wing defence, this defensive combination took hold of the game while in attack the Diamonds scored 16 goals to extended their lead to five at the final break.
Fully settled into the game, the Diamonds showed class and skill to finish the four quarter with 19 goals to the Proteas seven.
“We certainly got off to a really poor start. We took ages to adjust to the umpiring and I thought our energy was a little lack lustre,” Alexander said.
“We’re going to have to really work on that. We can’t afford to have a start like that against the Kiwis or Roses.”
The Diamonds will now have a week to prepare for back-to-back games against New Zealand and England next Saturday and Sunday in London (details below).