Diamonds need to sharpen their focus against South Africa

It looked like a final. It felt like a final. Hell, it even smelt like a final.

But it was not a final.

When Australia met New Zealand in the last game of the preliminary rounds on Thursday night there was so much sting in the game you could have been forgiven for forgetting it was just a match-up to decide which team topped their pool.

New Zealand’s Bailey Mes and Australia’s Courtney Bruce.Credit:PA

Having said that, it must have been tempting to give Gretel Tippett a run as an impact player in the
shooting circle. She is a terrific athlete who may just have the x-factor required to turn a big game in
Australia’s favour. Thursday’s game was a lost opportunity to see just what she could produce under
pressure.

Australia will need a much-improved performance than the one they put out against New Zealand if
they are going to win the World Cup, but the good news is that they will have learned from that
match.

That they need to press the advantage when they have it, to keep taking risks and to not
play conservatively and allow the opposition back into the game.

It sets us up for a mammoth, and fascinating, weekend of netball.

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