Murray Wenzel / AAP News
Australia netball vice-captain Steph Wood wants the Diamonds to dominate the big tournaments again.
Australian Netball Diamonds‘ vice-captain Steph Wood has outlined her side’s intention to dominate again ahead of crucial Commonwealth Games lead-in Tests this weekend.
The powerhouse outfit have been humbled in recent times, beaten in the Commonwealth Games final by England in 2018 and then by New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup, both in gutting 52-51 cliffhangers.
A Quad Series in London starting on Saturday (AEDT) against both those sides and South Africa is the team’s final Tests before July’s Commonwealth Games in nearby Birmingham.
Much has changed since 2018, with just four players including Wood remaining in a side that didn’t play at all in 2020 and ran out just four times last year.
Paige Hadley is the only current Diamonds squad member who has won a major event, back at the 2015 World Cup.
The Diamonds present as the least experienced of the four sides in London, while an overall 91 per cent win rate (69-7) against England is meaningless given their recent form.
Ahead of their tournament-opener against New Zealand, Wood admitted the power dynamic had shifted since their shock loss on the Gold Coast.
“We have spoken about the (fact) we didn’t win the last Commonwealth Games or the World Cup and don’t hold many trophies at the moment,” Wood, who hasn’t played for Australia since the 2019 World Cup, told AAP.
“I use it as motivation; disappointing not to come away with medals but I learnt a lot at those tournaments.
“The legacy of the Diamonds is dominating at big events and that’s what we want to do.
“It’ll be a bit a different (under new coach Stacey Marinkovich) exciting sort of style of play, I guess you could say it’s the new Diamonds era.”
Wood said Marinkovich’s brand of netball was built around physical one-on-one contests and variation.
“We just want to play a very Australian way, hard one-on-one but making sure we have variations is a big one for us that we’ve been working towards.”
Sunday Aryang and Sophie Dwyer are both in line for Test debuts, with Ethiopian-born Aryang poised to become the first African-born Diamond.
DIAMONDS‘ QUAD SERIES SCHEDULE
v New Zealand, 3.15am AEDT January 16
v South Africa, 1am AEDT January 17
v England, 6.30am AEDT January 19
Three v Four, 4.30am AEDT January 20
Final, 6.30am January 20