Madi Robinson in action for the DiamondsTwo familiar faces slipped seamlessly back into the Diamonds’ fold in practice as ‘s netballers declared only Commonwealth Games gold will do.
Recalled pair Laura Geitz and Madi Robinson both looked sharp in a tune-up clash with the Queensland Firebirds on the Sunshine Coast on Thursday.
The side also play defending Super Netball champions Sunshine Coast Lightning on Saturday before returning to the Games Village, where they have already spent one night.
Coach Lisa Alexander said the groundwork had been done and they have no excuses a week out from their Games defence.
“Oh definitely yes, of course – it goes without saying as world No.1, current world champions, current Commonwealth Games champions,” Alexander said.
“However that’s on paper and this team’s different and has its own internal pressure to make sure it performs absolutely at the very best it possibly can and we’re looking for improvement.”
Starting spots remain up for grabs, with 2014 Games gold medallists Geitz and Robinson starting from the bench in Thursday’s comfortable 71-47 win.
Former skipper Geitz is returning after having her first child, while Robinson was dropped in August and was a shock call-up after impressing in an 11th-hour training camp in January.
Only Kim Ravaillion, Jo Weston, Gabi Simpson and captain Caitlin Bassett appear certainties in Alexander’s best seven, with all 12 expected to be versatile during an unrelenting campaign.
“The performances I see over the next three days will let me know who’s ready to start and who’s ready to come on and (make an) impact,” she said.
open against Northern Island next Thursday, followed by pool games against Barbados, South Africa, Fiji and Jamaica inside seven days.
Jamaica are coming off two wins against New Zealand, while South Africa have pushed the Diamonds in tournaments this year.
England and the Silver Ferns shape as the teams to beat in the opposing pool.