Diamonds to face Lightning on the Sunshine Coast

Via Netball Australia

The Diamonds Commonwealth Games team will polish their preparation for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on the Sunshine Coast this March.

Following a one-night stay in the Athlete Village on the Gold Coast, the team of 12 will travel to Mooloolaba on Wednesday 28 March.

The Diamonds will return to the Village on Sunday 1 April, joining the wider Australian Commonwealth Games Team.

Emily Mannix, Kate Moloney, Tegan Philip and Gretel Tippett, will also attend the final camp in their capacity as training partners.

The move builds on a similar successful strategy implemented before Commonwealth Games 2014 and Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.

“We know that with a Commonwealth Games comes much excitement and being on home soil we will welcome further attention to our athletes,” said head coach Lisa Alexander.

“Hosting our Staging Camp on the Sunshine Coast will allow us to focus on our team first approach ensuring we are performance ready for the games.

“We will balance embracing our fans with focused training whilst on camp to ensure we are as well prepared as possible once we enter the bigger team environment of the Village, this will be an important stage in our process,” she explained.

It will not be the first time the Diamonds have prepared on the Sunshine Coast, after holding a camp in Mooloolaba before the Netball Quad Series in August 2017.

The team will play practice matches on the Coast against reigning premiers Sunshine Coast Lightning, and the Queensland Firebirds, after facing off against West Coast Fever in Canberra on 15 and 16 March.

Alexander said “practice matches are critical in this final phase of training. Nothing is a substitute for high-intensity match play, and we are fortunate to be able to test ourselves against three high-quality teams.”

Lightning Coach, Noeline Taurua welcomed the fixture at the Club’s base, USC Stadium.

“It is a rare opportunity for us to face the World No. 1 side and for our athletes to be exposed to the Australian team and the Australian Coaches,” Taurua said.

“It’s a tremendous chance for them to show Lisa and the selectors what they’re capable of and test themselves against top-quality opposition.”

Australia opens its 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games campaign against Northern Ireland on Thursday 5 April before its remaining pool matches against Barbados (6 April), South Africa (8 April), Fiji (9 April) and Jamaica (11 April).