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Diamonds expect fiery NZ in netball Tests

  • Diamonds expect fiery NZ in netball Tests

The Australian netball team are bracing for a New Zealand outfit running high on emotion when the teams meet in a four-Test series starting next week.

The Diamonds are coming off their World Cup triumph - the third time in succession they have denied their arch-rivals the title.

As well as smarting from the defeat, the Silver Ferns will farewell coach Waimarama Taumaunu, who is retiring after the series.

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Australian coach Lisa Alexander is expecting New Zealand to be fired up.

"We know in New Zealand it's going to be very emotional; there's players and also the coach retiring so it's going to have that edge, that extra dimension.

"It will be interesting to see how we combat that."

The Australians are also going through a period of change with long-time Test players Julie Corletto, Kim Green and Bec Bulley all retiring post-World Cup.

Reserve goalkeeper Sharni Layton is set to get first crack at Corletto's goal defence bib, although Alexander says she could pull a surprise move and move starting keeper, captain Laura Geitz into the role.

Alexander said it was a new era and the players had put the World Cup behind them to treat it as such.

"It's not exciting to lose those players but it's exciting to have a Sharni Layton step up into goal defence and there's April Letton, Jo Weston and Clare McMeniman, who's a really experienced servant from ANZ Championship level.

"We're conscious that we're setting the benchmarks and we've got to continue to keep doing that and the group are really driven to keep improving.

Alexander said she planned to tinker with the line-up, with four Tests in 10 days.

"It's important to refresh the team and set new challenges but we also want to make sure we're winning everything and the athletes are really driven for that."

The first Test is in Christchurch on Tuesday with games to follow in Auckland (Oct 22), Melbourne (Oct 25) before concluding in Perth (Oct 30).

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