Australia celebrate their victory over New Zealand in the semi final.
Australia celebrate their victory over New Zealand in the semi final.

Alexander’s plan to turn Diamonds into gold

FOR the first time in history, our Australian Diamonds will play England in the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games.

To outsiders, this might come as a shock, but we have seen England's improvement over the past four years, particularly with so many players in our Suncorp Super Netball.

I expect more improvement from England on Sunday.

I know their coach Tracey Neville pretty well and she will want them to continue their progress. Like us, they went through the preliminary rounds undefeated. They got an opportunity on Saturday in their semi final against Jamaica by coming back hard and winning by one goal on the buzzer. They showed a lot of mental toughness, they have grown together as a team and we know it will be a huge challenge in the gold medal match.

Somebody asked me recently about our use of all 12 players in every game thus far, whether that was just what we do, or if it was a reaction to what's on court.

Caitlin Thwaites in action against New Zealand.
Caitlin Thwaites in action against New Zealand.

In fact, it has been a conscious decision to use the depth in our team to its fullest advantage.

Every coach dreams of having a team where they can put different players on court, utilising different line ups without compromising a seamless performance.

Even in community netball at the grassroots they have 10 players in a team and they try to get all players on.

It's not so much about the winning at grassroots, it's about developing and having fun.

The great thing about our Diamonds is that our athletes train incredibly hard - all of them. if you can create a team that has that ability to adapt and be versatile, then you can evolve netball.

Steph Wood passes as Australia downed New Zealand to take them through to the final.
Steph Wood passes as Australia downed New Zealand to take them through to the final.

We are challenging the idea of a starting seven and using the same players on court for a whole game.

The Commonwealth Games is a tournament. We play seven games in 11 days.

You have to be able to manage all your athletes as well as you can and if you flog one or two players they are going to get tired.

England celebrate victory over Jamaica.
England celebrate victory over Jamaica.

We want everyone performing at their very best and this is the way we are doing it.

We have a very strong 12 who are able to be interchanged.

To be in the Commonwealth Games gold medal match is a dream come true.

It's an opportunity that not many people get and we want to make the most of it and do our very best for our country.



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