Diamonds (l-r) Caitlin Thwaites, Erin Bell and Caitlin Bassett cut forlorn figures leaving Allphones Arena after the 52-47 pool loss to New Zealand. Australia have vowed to be at their best against England on Tuesday. Picture: GETTY IMAGESNETBALL
Australia have warned England they may bear the brunt of the Diamonds’ stunning Netball World Cup defeat to New Zealand.
Australian vice-captain Kim Green says her team have never been more motivated for a win after the defending world champions and hot tournament favourites suffered a shock 52-47 loss to the second-ranked Silver Ferns.
While reflection is still under way, Green believed the “unacceptable” performance had provided the Diamonds with more than enough incentive to bounce back stronger against world No 3 England on Tuesday night.
“We are fired up,” she said.
“I can tell you every single one of those players, as soon as we walked back into that changeroom, wanted to get back out there and play that all over again. [Tomorrow] we’ll still need to have that balance of that fire in our bellies but also being smart with what we’re doing.
“But you can expect a fired-up Aussie team tomorrow.”
Australia’s unexpected capitulation to a bold and clinical Silver Ferns – their first international defeat in 22 Tests – has opened the World Cup right up, as preliminary rounds wrap up and teams prepare for the pointy-end of competition.
While their trans-Tasman rivals have topped Pool A and move into a second-phase pool with fourth-ranked Jamaica, the hosts will have to contend with what Green said is potentially England’s best-ever side.
The Diamonds hold a 92 per cent winning record against England, but they won’t have forgotten that only a year ago that was nearly lessened in an intensely close Commonwealth Games match that Australia came from behind to win by a single point in the dying seconds.
Green said the squad was impressed with what they saw in England’s high-quality 54-50 win over Jamaica on Saturday, which cemented their stranglehold at the top of pool B.
“They’ve got the mix of the experienced players but also the real young ones coming through that have got that real fire, like [midcourter] Serena Guthrie,” she said.
“They’ve done a really good job with their selection for that team.
“The inclusion of [five World Cup veteran defender] Sonia Mkoloma, you could see in the Jamaican game [she] really made an impact.
“She’s got that court smarts, she’s been around the traps for so long … just having that experience will strengthen their side as well.”
Veteran Australians Caitlin Bassett and Julie Corletto are both expected to make their 50th Test appearance on Tuesday. – AAP
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