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Players need to step up for must-win second Test
Australian Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has called for her side to step up in Wednesday night's must-win second Test against England at Wembley Arena in London.
While pleased by the performance of the team's youngest members in debutant Kimberley Ravaillion and defender Chanel Gomes, Alexander believes everyone was guilty of going "missing" during stages of the 58-53 loss to England in the opening Test on Sunday in Bath.
“It’s hard at this time of the year, it’s not our normal season, we’re in pre-season mode so their skills aren’t quite as sharp, but this is the time that I expect experienced players to be able to step up, using that experience and apply it in a Test match situation,” Alexander said.
Despite a spirited fight back in the second half after trailing by 11 goals at half-time, costly errors and a slow start contributed to the defeat - just Australia's third against England.
Alexander has asked her side to show the hard, quick and precision style of netball that has become synonymous with the world champions.
“We know we need to step it up, eliminate our errors and a matter of making sure we’re not getting to hesitant, we need to let the ball go, but we’ve got to make sure the leads are really strong and our timing is really good,” Alexander said.
“We’re working on all our targets which is winning every quarter, that’s pretty basic, we want to improve our shooting from the last Test, it was very good but it needs to get better, and we need our pick up differential to be higher, we need to be pouncing on all those loose balls.”
Diamonds defender Renae Hallinan, one of the seven returning players from Australia’s come-from-behind series victory over England in 2010, said the side can take confidence having been in this situation before.
“Knowing that we’ve come from behind before gives us confidence coming into game two but that’s all we can be worried about at the moment, winning this game, not so much the overall series,” Hallinan said.
“We just want our redemption, we don’t like losing to the English at any time, let alone a full series, so we will be absolutely putting it all out there in game two.”
The Australian Diamonds, trailing the series 0-1, take on England in the second Test on Wednesday at 7.30pm at Wembley Arena. The Test can be seen live at 6.30am on Thursday morning on FOX SPORTS and Telstra BigPond Sport TV.