Diamonds’ netball coach Lisa Alexander has put her players on notice and admits there’s an element of uncertainty after being thrown some curve balls.
Reigning world and commonwealth champions Australia suffered a rare setback earlier this month when they lost 57-47 to arch-rivals New Zealand in Invercargill.
The victory allowed the Silver Ferns to pip Australia for the Quad Series title on percentage.
Australia have a chance to extract revenge in October in the four match Constellation Cup in which both countries host two games.
The selectors have shown they value form above reputation by dropping established wing attack Madi Robinson.
“Even though that was a very tough decision and a very tough call to have to make, this will give players like Kate Moloney and Caitlyn Nevins an opportunity to press their claims for Commonwealth Games selection,” Alexander said.
“That’s really important that we make sure that everyone understands that they are accountable for their performances.
“A couple of the players already in our team are on notice that they need to lift their game, so everyone is very focused on making sure we get the wins.”
Alexander agreed the squad wasn’t as settled as it had been at the corresponding stage before the last Commonwealth Games.
She has been grooming some young defenders and wing attack and goal attack are positions which are still very much up for grabs.
“We’ve had quite a few curve balls thrown at us,” Alexander said.
“With Sharni Layton not being available for this two Test series, which we originally thought she would be, and then also the spectre of Laura Geitz making her way back after having a little break for motherhood.
“There’s a little bit of uncertainty around things.”
She hopes leading defenders Geitz and Layton will both be available for the Quad Series in early 2018, the last leadup tournament to the Commonwealth Games.
Layton pulled out of the mid-year Quad Series and the Constellation Cup due to exhaustion.
“We’re just making sure she’s doing all the things she needs to do to get herself well and back playing and training and getting herself ready for this January series,” Alexander said.
She said World Cup winning captain Geitz, who missed the last domestic season after giving birth, was back training with her Super Netball side Queensland Firebirds.
“She’s done a really good job in being very thorough in her preparations to start pre-season training,” Alexander said.