Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander is beginning to see a return to the Australian style of netball which went missing against the Silver Ferns a month ago.
And she wants to see her players up the ante in Sunday’s second Constellation Cup Test in Christchurch.
Thumped 57-47 in the Quad Series finale in Invercargill, the Diamonds rebounded to edge the Kiwis 57-54 in Auckland on Thursday in the opening match of the four-Test series.
Gone was an uncharacteristic hesitancy in attack, while an improved defensive effort generated plenty of turnover ball to keep the scoreline ticking over.
“We were very pleased with the progress towards getting that teamwork back, and that Aussie style of skill that we like to see,” Alexander told NZ Newswire.
“Pretty much for the whole Quad Series, we weren’t scoring off turnovers created by our defenders and that’s just not good enough.
“It’s still not perfect, but we’re showing much more patience and good decision making at the right times.”
Alexander isn’t entirely satisfied, however, and is looking for further improvement on Sunday after the Diamonds failed to build on their lead in Auckland.
“There were parts of that game when we got to be eight goals up, and we just didn’t put the foot down.
“That’s credit to the Silver Ferns too, because they made some really good changes in defence.
“But we’ve got to recognise those things a little more quickly, be able to actually put the foot down and get a bit more of a buffer between us a bit earlier.”
Alexander’s focus, along with that of New Zealand coach Janine Southby, is to build depth and develop combinations ahead of next year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2019 World Cup in Liverpool.
The Diamonds are defending champions at both pinnacle events, with the Kiwis the beaten finalists.
“The teams are pretty evenly matched in a lot of areas if you look at player-for-player,” Alexander said.
“It’s a matter of getting that right combination – we want to get that real teamwork back, which we thought was missing in that final Test in Invercargill.”