ABC/AAP: The Diamonds are starting to assemble a game plan for Saturday’s Netball World Cup semi-final, fully aware that Jamaica is shaping as the likely opponent.
Australia’s 66-31 ravaging of South Africa in Sydney on Wednesday night guaranteed the defending world champions a top-two finish in their qualification pool, after having also beaten England.
With a match-free day at their disposal on Thursday, Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said she would be utilising the time to start key tactical preparations with her squad before a “very crammed” final weekend of competition.
The Diamonds play Wales Friday night before backing up for their semi-final at midday on Saturday, with the final and bronze medal match to both be played on Sunday.
“We have to to do some analysis, because if we don’t we’ll be caught behind because it’s a very quick turnaround,” Alexander said.
“It’s not a lot of time so we’ll have to be ready.
“We won’t take Wales lightly either, so we’ll be putting out a performance that needs to be part of what we’re doing to build for the weekend.”
Barring a disaster against struggling Wales, Australia will stay in top spot in Pool F and face the number two-ranked team from Pool E in the semi-final.
Jamaica is the favourite for that place, so long as the world number four outfit do not sustain upset defeats to Uganda or Malawi.
Australia’s nemesis New Zealand has the stranglehold on Pool E, meaning it will most likely be a problem for England to deal with in the other semi-final.
Widely considered one of the hardest hitters in the game, Jamaica would provide a very physical challenge for the hosts, which is saying something against the defensive likes of Sharni Layton and Laura Geitz.
Layton was impressed with what she’s seen from the Sunshine Girls this tournament.
“Jamaica have been playing amazing,” she said.
“Obviously they’ve got [former Diamonds coach] Jill [McIntosh] will them at the moment and I think she’s been doing a great job with them.
“And [goal shooter] Romelda [Aiken] has been growing throughout the ANZ Championship – she’s pretty much unstoppable.
“We have to make sure we’re doing everything outside of that circle.”