Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander says there will be shake-ups in the starting side as the Diamonds head towards a primetime showdown with England on Saturday.
The Australians, gold medal favourites in Glasgow, opened their account with a win over Wales that was straightforward in the end but took flight only after a nervous opening quarter that had them up by just a solitary goal.
Leading 10-9, the Australians returned to the court to steamroll Wales with a 22-8 second-quarter blitz, setting up a 63-36 victory that was easily the best result for the Welsh in all of their lop-sided meetings with Australia dating back to 1963.
But Alexander said there would need to be a marked improvement before Australia met the English, who play an aggressive rush defence and will try to unsettle the Diamonds, many of whom are competing in their first Commonwealth Games.
"[We need to improve] at least another 20 per cent on top of that. I think the girls know that. We saw some different combinations and performances that will make us think very carefully against England on Saturday," Alexander said.
The entire squad saw court time against Wales, with debutant Tegan Caldwell impressing at goal attack after replacing veteran Natalie Medhurst at halftime. Caldwell finished with 12 goals from 15 attempts, with Medhurst adding eight from 11 to help set up a match-winning halftime lead.
The tall timber was effective for Australia, with Caitlin Bassett pouring in 24 goals from 28 shots before Caitlin Thwaites added 19 from 23 when give her chance in the final two terms.
It all provided plenty of food for thought for Alexander, who has vowed to keep experimenting with the roster until she settles on the ideal starting seven that will hopefully spearhead the challenge for the gold medal.
"I’ve got a certain style and team I want to play and I think that will end up being the team at the end of the week. But things can change," Alexander said.
"We have 12 awesome athletes. I really have to make sure I’ve done my homework well, have a look at England. It could take 12 players to beat England on Saturday anyway."
Alexander said the girls weren't feeling the immense pressure of delivering a gold medal after losing to New Zealand in the past two Commonwealth Games deciders.
But she said they had been watching a specially made video that reminded them of the history of Australian netball and the drive to be the best team in the world.
"They feel the pressure of keeping up standards. Australian netball has been No.1 in the world for many, many years. Everyone that comes before them has that same pressure and we reminded ourselves of that this morning when we played our special trademark video," Alexander said.
"It’s a reminder of the history and legacy of this Australian netball team. It reminds the girls that they have a responsibility to take the baton on to the next group and the next group."
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