Diamonds regain edge over New Zealand
By Karen Lyon
Australia believe their first netball series victory over New Zealand since 2011 will give them a mental edge heading into next year's Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Australia took an unbeatable 3-1 lead over New Zealand in the Constellation Cup with a 52-47 win over the Silver Ferns in Melbourne on Monday night.
The fifth and final Test will be in Canberra on Sunday.
In her first series as captain, an emotional Laura Geitz was thrilled with the victory.
"There is all of a sudden a great confidence amongst our playing group," said Geitz.
"I suppose that for us is what we need heading into Commonwealth Games."
While conceding there was still "plenty of water to go under the bridge" with another domestic season and more international Tests to be played before the Glasgow Games, Geitz believes her young team is finding its feet on the international stage.
"It is wonderful to have this young playing group settled together for two massive years," she said.
"We understand that we don't just have the girls pushing from the bench, we also have depth that goes far and beyond what is in this team.
"It is a great position to be in."
Australian coach Lisa Alexander has backed a youthful line-up in the past three Tests, with 20-year-old Kim Ravaillion at centre and Caitlin Bassett, 25, in the goal shooter's position.
Alexander has yet to decide whether to experiment with her line-up in the final Test, but admits winning the series 4-1 and grabbing a real edge would be important in preparations for Glasgow.
"We would like to win the series 4-1, there is no doubt about that," she said.
"Obviously, we are not playing at our best just yet, but I wouldn't want us to either.
"We need to time our run into the Comm Games, but certainly the signs are all there and the effort is there."
The Silver Ferns have beaten Australia in the past two Commonwealth Games finals, including a double extra-time thriller three years ago in New Delhi.