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Diamonds must lift to beat NZ in netball

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 31/08/2016 Michael Ramsey

With blowout wins over England and South Africa under their belts, Australia's Diamonds say they must lift their game to match it with New Zealand in the Netball Quad Series.

The world champion Diamonds cruised to a 66-46 victory over England in Adelaide on Wednesday night, helped by a dominant performance from 193cm shooter Caitlin Bassett.

Bassett netted 46 of her 51 shots over three-and-a-half quarters, three points shy of her career-best figures.

The game was largely won during a one-sided third quarter in which the Diamonds held the Roses to just eight points.

The Diamonds will now prepare to face a tougher test in Melbourne on Sunday when they take on world No.2 New Zealand, who smashed South Africa earlier on Wednesday 65-46.

With the Diamonds and Silver Ferns each enjoying easy wins over England and South Africa, the contest shapes as the first truly competitive game of the series.

Despite out classing England, Diamonds captain Claire McMeniman says the side haven't shown the form they will need to overcome the Silver Ferns.

"I think we've probably seen glimpses of it in both games," she said.

"There was definitely a lot better flow for us in that third quarter.

"Obviously it was a big margin, which was pleasing, but I think we're looking for more consistency."

McMeniman says the Diamonds will need to be at their best to counter the Silver Ferns' defensive pressure and intensity and can't just rely on Bassett's dominance up forward.

"She's a huge weapon in the attacking end but we've also got to be able to get the ball to her," McMeniman said.

"She can't do her job if we're not doing ours.

"We can't go into that encounter being afraid of what they're putting forth and we would never approach them like that.

"They're an incredibly tough opposition. We respect them greatly but we know that we've got things that we need to focus on from our perspective."

Coach Lisa Alexander was frustrated with her side's unforced errors against England but said there were positives to take out of the game.

She said there would be tough selection decisions to make ahead of Sunday's clash, with shooter Caitlin Thwaites impressing in the limited minutes she played against the Roses.

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