Courtney Bruce gets airborn for the Diamonds. Picture: Twitter/@elizahopephoto
Courtney Bruce gets airborn for the Diamonds. Picture: Twitter/@elizahopephoto

Diamonds start WC prep with win

Australia have warmed up for the start of this week's Netball World Cup with a match against the English Super League Champions Manchester Thunder.

Caitlin Bassett, who sustained a mild concussion during training the previous day, rode a courtside exercise bike throughout the five-term, 94-62 hitout in Manchester overnight.

The 31-year-old, the only squad member to have featured in Australia's last two World Cup-winning teams, is also expected to miss Tuesday's behind-closed-doors match against England A but be available for the team's tournament-opener against Northern Ireland in Liverpool on Friday.

 

In her absence coach Lisa Alexander tested a variety of combinations against the Thunder, which also featured Australia's train-on players.

That fact played a part in Alexander's assessment, especially a day after the Superleague champions were thrashed 75-38 by England and five after they were beaten 72-53 by Jamaica.

 

"It's different because England scored 75 goals against them in four quarters and we scored I think 75 over four, so I'm actually quite pleased with that," Alexander said. "And I'm assuming they didn't have their training partners playing with them, they had their normal team. If you're comparing like for like I'm pretty pleased.

 

 

"We worked Gretel (Tippett) and Caity (Thwaites) for longer today because their combination needed a bit more building.

"I was really happy there was much more flow between the two of them. And I loved Steph with Gretel back in shooter, that's another really great option for us."

The Diamonds held a five-goal lead at the end of the first quarter, extending to 37-29 ahead at the second break and running away with it from there.

"I really liked our work on our transition attack out of defence," Alexander said.

"When we got a turnover it was just no hesitation, down it went. That's what we worked on yesterday so I was really pleased with that.

"We've still got a bit of work to do on our centre pass defence and attack, but that's coming."