The Courier-Mail

Diamonds promise to wither Roses after Ferns ‘speed bump’

- REBECCA WILLIAMS

THE Diamonds are “fired up” to make amends for Sunday’s 52-47 loss to New Zealand when they take on England tonight, Australian vice-captain Kim Green says.

But Green said the Australian­s were wary of the strongest England team she had seen.

Her comments came as Diamonds goal attack Nat Medhurst described the upset result, which snapped Australia’s 21-game winning streak, as a “just a little speed hump” in the team’s bid for a third straight World Cup crown.

The Diamonds’ 52-47 loss to their arch rivals in their final preliminar­y round match has put them in a pool for the qualificat­ion rounds against world No.3 England, who are so far undefeated in Sydney.

The Australian­s spent Sunday night reviewing their performanc­e against the Silver Ferns, who snapped a ninegame losing streak against the Diamonds, before turning their attention to England.

“That was not a performanc­e that we would ever want to put out and we’ll be doing everything we can ... to rectify that,’’ Green said.

“We are fired up. I can tell you every single one of those players, as soon as we walked back into that change room, wanted to get back out there and play that all over again.

“We still need to have that balance of that fire in our bellies, but also being smart about what we are doing.

“But you can expect a very fired up Aussie team (tonight).

“It is a fresh start. It’s a great reality check for us and we’re just like, we’re fired up, we’re ready to go.’’

Australia needs to finish top-two in their pool in the qualificat­ion rounds to prog- ress to the semi-finals, in Sydney on Saturday.

England delivered Australia a scare during the preliminar­y rounds at the Commonweal­th Games in Scotland last year when the Diamonds got over the line by one goal.

Green said the Diamonds were wary of what she rated as the strongest England team she had come up against.

“They have got the mix of the experience­d players, but also the real young ones coming through that have got that real fire like a Serena Guthrie,’’ she said.

“They have done a really good job with their selection of that team like the inclusion of Sonia Mkoloma, which you could see in the Jamaica game really made an impact.

Green agreed that what En- gland had been through after the death of coach Tracey Neville’s father on Friday would be a galvanisin­g factor for the Roses.

Medhurst said she was eager to put the New Zealand loss “to the side”.

She added that there was still plenty of the tournament to play out.

“We’re not sulking about it, we have got to get on with it,’’ she said.

“It’s just a little speed bump and we have just got to make sure that we use it to fire us up and play the type of netball that we want to.’’

 ??  ?? STRONG SIGN: Midfielder Jesse Lonergan has a new two-year deal. Picture: Scott Fletcher
STRONG SIGN: Midfielder Jesse Lonergan has a new two-year deal. Picture: Scott Fletcher

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