Diamonds Claim 2018 Netball Quad Series Title

Netball | Published: Thu 1 February 2018

It was an outcome that few saw coming as world number one took on world number two on Sunday evening (AWST) in South Africa, Australia defeating the New Zealand Silver Ferns by a staggering 19 goals and claiming the Netball Quad Series with an undefeated run.

The Samsung Diamonds have beaten their trans-Tasman rivals by 19 or more goals on only ten occasions in the past, the most recent being on the 21st of October 2012 where the winning margin was 20.

Diamonds Head Coach, Lisa Alexander said "to have won the (Quad Series) trophy back with such a definitive performance and also to get everyone out on the court at some stage during the test series, as a coach, I can't ask for much more than that."
"Today we achieved what we set out to do, which was that continuous improvement within each game. That's the challenge I put to the players at the start."
"They should be extraordinarily pleased with themselves, they represented our country and netball in Australia with discretion," said Alexander.
A close start to the match saw both sides neck and neck halfway through the first quarter, this standing however was short lived as the Australians dialed up their efforts to carry an eight-goal lead into the first break. 
Out of, what can be assumed as, desperation to get themselves back in to the game the Ferns made seven changes throughout the second term, the Australians maintaining their starting line up.
Australia's goal defence, Jo Weston, was forced on to the bench late in the second due to the blood rule, APril Brandley taking to the court to fulfill the role.
Despite any efforts for New Zealand the Diamonds continued to pull away, extending their lead to 12 at half time.
Alexander made a couple of changes to her side in the third term, Susan Pettitt opening the second half in goal attack whilst Emily Mannix was introduced into goal keeper with five minutes life tin the term to replace Western Australia, Courtney Bruce. 
The changes proved to have no effect on the Australian's as they continued to increase their lead, going into the final break 17-goals ahead of their opposition. 
Further changes were made to the Diamonds line up for the final quarter as Caitlin Thwaites came in to goal shooter, Jo Weston returned to goal defence and Paige Hadley returned to the court in the green and gold for the first time in twelve months, injected into the wing attack position.
Again showing their skill and class the Samsung Diamonds pushed further ahead finishing the game 67-48. 
With their first two games of the Quad Series being tightly contested, Australia expected nothing less heading into game number three.
Lisa Alexander said "we were ready for a fired up kiwi team. They played very well against South Africa, better than they did against England and we expected them to improve again."
"We knew we had to do things that were important for us to shut them down, and what you saw today was the execution of that, paired with some very smart play."
Speaking of the numerous changes of which the Ferns side made Alexander said "we knew that was going to happen. New Zealand are still going through that process of figuring out the best combinations for them for the Commonwealth Games as well. We've got our systems in place to deal with that now, and I think that was very strong tonight." 
The Samsung Diamonds have now returned to Australia to begin their final preparations for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
The Australian Commonwealth Games netball team is expected to be announced in early February. 
  • Annika Lee-Jones