Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says her players are still hurting and annoyed after last week’s one-goal loss to New Zealand, and she hopes Perth’s beaches will help them hit back hard in Sunday’s series decider.
The Silver Ferns lead the Constellation Cup netball series 2-1 after securing a one-goal win in Sydney.
The Diamonds will retain the Cup on goal percentage if they can win at Perth’s RAC Arena, and they were given extra motivation this week when shooter Caitlin Thwaites announced her retirement.
The match will also mark captain Caitlin Bassett’s 100-game milestone, giving the team plenty of reasons to bring out their best.
Alexander was guarded when asked about what team changes or tactics she was looking to employ for the series decider.
But she did give some cryptic clues as to how she had changed up the team’s preparation this week in a bid to get them firing for Sunday’s game.
“They’re really hurting after that loss in Sydney, they’re really annoyed, so I expect a really hard hit back on Sunday,” Alexander said.
“I was annoyed too. We had our chances, so we’ve taken a different approach this week.
“I’m not going to go into it just yet, I’ll talk about it after the match. Hopefully that will work and give them the spark that’s needed to get over the line.
People are humans, they’re not robots. They’re not Xs and Os on a whiteboard. It has to be a holistic look and view of how you set up your whole week.
“It involves spirit, it involves the beaches of WA – that whole beautiful environment we’re in. All of that comes into how we prepare for this match.”
The Diamonds haven’t lost the Constellation Cup since 2012, and the current crop of players are determined to extend that dominance.
Thwaites, who will play her 55th and final Test on Sunday, said she wants her teammates to focus on the Cup rather than her impending retirement.
“I’m trying to downplay this. I don’t want the girls to be playing for me. It’s about the other stuff,” Thwaites said.
“We really want to retain that Constellation Cup. It’s been a massive year.
“To be able to win this back off the Ferns after they’ve beaten us in the World Cup final is huge motivation.
“We’ve also got the motivation of our captain playing her 100th game in her home town in Perth.”
Alexander gave her team one more reason to be motivated.
“If the players need to pour an ice bucket over me or Gatorade me I’m happy – as long as they win,” she said.