Australian coach Lisa Alexander has given the Diamonds squad a clean slate ahead of Wednesday night’s Commonwealth Games rematch with England in Newcastle.
The recently re-signed mentor, on her fourth visit to the city with the national team, said the heartbreaking final loss on the Gold Coast in April wasn’t a point of focus for this current group.
“We try and make sure that we prepare as if this is new,” Alexander told the Newcastle Herald after training at Hunter Sports High School on Monday afternoon.
“It’s pretty much my practice with every team we prepare for a new series because you always have new team members and squad members and opposition.
“So we have to keep all of that in perspective and as we’re building towards World Cup this is a great opportunity for us to have a hit out against the world No.2.
“It enables us to really test where our game is at this stage and what we need to keep working on for the future.”
Australia and England arrive at the Quad Series encounter, without a gold medal on the line this time around, following opening round victories on the weekend.
The Diamonds accounted for South Africa 61-44 in Auckland while the Roses recorded an emphatic 52-39 Test win over hosts New Zealand.
“I think we came through really well in the second half of the match,” Alexander said.
“We knew it was going to be difficult against South Africa because of how relentless they are with the pressure they put on, but we pulled away nicely in the end with some good space and attack timing.
“England had a win as well and that was their biggest win ever so that would have given them enormous confidence with where their form is at the moment.”
Alexander said there was a sense of “relief” in regards to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre court being cleared by Netball Australia officials after a Sydney Kings pre-season basketball trial was cancelled just before tip-off on September 8 because of the playing surface.
“That’s a relief,” she said.
“When I heard what happened I thought what’s gone wrong? But apparently it’s fantastic and we’re looking forward to it.”
Alexander said she was pleased with the Diamonds’ intense session at the Hunter Sports HS on Monday. This featured a game against a makeshift NSW team, including Novocastrian defender Sam Poolman.
“It was terrific and we particularly like going there because they have a netball program and I think it’s great for the students to see the Diamonds up close and personal,” she said.
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