The long-standing netball rivalry between Australia and New Zealand hasn’t stopped coaches Lisa Alexander and Janine Southby seeing eye-to-eye on one key issue.
Going into Sunday’s quad series finale in Invercargill, both are demanding a more ruthless approach from their teams.
On the surface, the Diamonds are in better shape than the Silver Ferns in the four-nation tournament.
They have recorded two wins from two starts, edging a fast-finishing England 54-50 first up before downing South Africa 58-52 in Canberra on Wednesday.
In contrast, Southby’s Silver Ferns are coming off an upset 49-45 defeat to England two days ago in Auckland, just the fifth time they’ve lost in 88 Tests against the Roses.
The Kiwis were also unconvincing in accounting for South Africa 63-56 last Saturday in Brisbane.
Both Alexander and Southby know exactly where they want to see improvement when the two arch-rivals clash at Stadium Southland.
They talk about consistency across four quarters, with both teams having faded in and out of their games against South Africa and England.
Alexander wants the Diamonds to replicate the strong start they delivered against South Africa, but she also wants to see them extend their lead with every quarter.
“We got off to a good start, then we let it go and that’s what was so disappointing,” she told NZ Newswire on Friday.
“We were 7-3 at one stage, and should have pushed on. We really need to work on that – we need to make sure we put the foot down and keep going.”
The Silver Ferns also struggled to maintain pressure against England, culminating in a chaotic final quarter where they were outscored 7-1 in the final five minutes.
Southby says that inconsistency proved costly throughout the whole game.
“We’d be up by five or six goals, then we’d go back to being one or two up – that seemed to be the pattern of the game,” she told NZ Newswire.
“A learning for this group is that when you get the chance, you’ve got to put the foot down, because other teams will just keep pushing back.”