The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE FEATURE -

The last we saw of the Aus­tralian Di­a­monds, they were a tear­ful mess, griev­ing for the gold that slipped away af­ter Eng­land – Eng­land! – pot­ted the win­ning goal as the final whis­tle blew in the Com­mon­wealth Games final. The post mortems started al­most im­me­di­ately. Aus­tralia’s Su­per Net­ball, with its no limit im­port pol­icy, was sharp­en­ing the ranks of over­seas play­ers who’ve ben­e­fited from the weekly ex­po­sure to the world’s tough­est do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion. Aus­tralian net­ball com­men­ta­tor Sue Gau­dion says ex­po­sure to Aus­tralia’s elite com­pe­ti­tion week-to-week has taken away the one thing Aus­tralia al­ways had go­ing for it: its fear factor. “Play­ers from other coun­tries are now team­mates or op­po­nents who they see weekly,” she says. “They know each other, of­ten they’re friends. That’s changed the dy­namic.” “But our world game has to be bet­ter than a two horse race. What it means is we have the world’s best in our own back­yard. That’s a good thing but there were al­ways po­ten­tial neg­a­tives and now we’ve seen it.” The next we’ll see of the Di­a­monds is in the Quad Cup, con­tested by Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Eng­land and South Africa, in Septem­ber fol­lowed by the Con­stel­la­tion Cup se­ries against the Ki­wis in Oc­to­ber. But they will all be pre­lim­i­nary to the Net­ball World Cup in Liver­pool in July next year. “The irony is that all the pres­sure in 2019 will be on Eng­land,” Gau­sion says. “I’d ex­pect the Aus­tralians to come in more ag­gres­sive than they’ve ever been. They know they’ll have to be bet­ter, to step up. ”

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