GG2018 XXI COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Australia vs Northern Ireland. April 5, 2018. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher, Netball Australia
GG2018 XXI COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Australia vs Northern Ireland. April 5, 2018. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Broadbeach, QLD, Australia. Photo: Narelle Spangher, Netball Australia

NZ will be hurting, this is like a Grand Final: Ravaillion

DIAMONDS centre Kim Ravaillion says a long history of ferocious battles with fierce archrival New Zealand means there is "no way" the Silver Ferns will sneak under Australia's guard.

For the first time at the Commonwealth Games, Australia will play New Zealand in a netball semi-final when the old foes clash at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre.

The two powerhouses have played in every gold medal match since the sport was introduced in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 but have had starkly contrasting campaigns on the Gold Coast to turn the netball competition on its head.

Kim Ravaillion in the Diamonds last warmup game before the Commonwealth Games at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Photo Lachie Millard
Kim Ravaillion in the Diamonds last warmup game before the Commonwealth Games at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Photo Lachie Millard

The all-powerful, all-conquering Diamonds have shone brightly with five commanding wins from five outings in Pool A while New Zealand has spiralled into an unprecedented uncertainty with losses to Malawi and England.

If Uganda scored just 20 more goals in their pool matches, they would have tipped the stumbling Silver Ferns out of the medal rounds with the New Zealand media savaging the underperforming side that was also less than convincing in pool wins over Wales and Uganda.

Two losses to Jamaica before the Games were the first signs that New Zealand was on the slide.

But the Diamonds are having none of the talk about the Silver Ferns being a fading force.

They have been in too many ding-doing battles with New Zealand to ever take them lightly, regardless of the stunning results on the Gold Coast.

Malawi upset New Zealan earlier this week in a shock win
Malawi upset New Zealan earlier this week in a shock win

"I guess it is a bit weird (to be playing New Zealand in the semi-final) but it's always exciting coming up against New Zealand and it's like a grand final in itself,'' Ravaillion said.

"We've really got to take it to them. You can never underestimate them, they are a quality team.

"They really lift for these games and we expect nothing but a really good New Zealand side. We expect nothing but the best performance.

"I think they will step-up coming up against us.

"They'd be feeling it after their last few games but they'll bring their A-game for us.''

Ravaillion said the Diamonds' quest for the perfect game, the depth of talent across the squad and the occasion itself would drive Australia to a new level.

"We are trying to improve each and every game and it's another game that we are going to step-up and really put a full team performance together,'' she said.

"That's what we've been aiming for all tournament and hopefully it's a stepping stone to the top of the mountain.

"It's incredible the fact that we've got 12 team players and it's awesome Lisa (Alexander, Diamonds coach) can put on anyone and know that they are going to do their job. The teamwork is what's getting us across the line.

"It's been the strongest 12 in a very long time.''

England will play Jamaica in the other semi-final today at Coomera (Sat).



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