Diamonds open to fifth Test Constellation Cup decider

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich wants a fifth and deciding Constellation Cup Test to be played. Photo: Getty

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich wants a fifth and deciding Constellation Cup Test to be played. Photo: Getty Photo: Getty

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich is open to a fifth Test against New Zealand to decide the Constellation Cup after the Australians again won the series on points aggregate.

The Diamonds kept the prized trans-Tasman trophy on Australian soil after two big wins at home but the side looked shattered after the fourth Test, with the Silver Ferns celebrating after winning the final matches in New Zealand.

The world champions were on a 6am flight out of Auckland to travel to Cairns for their first Test against South Africa on Wednesday night, before two games next week in Tasmania.

Despite the crowded schedule Marinkovich welcomed a deciding Test rather than the competition being awarded on goals like in the past three years (2019, 2022 and 2023), when Australia was triumphant.

“Any time you get to play against the Silver Ferns in this rivalry is an absolute privilege so bring on as many games as we can play,” Marinkovich said when asked about a fifth Test.

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua said after the match she was also an advocate for a decider.

“We’ve always wanted five Tests. I don’t know what’s happened as to why it hasn’t,” Taurua said.

“We’ve always supported that idea because for three years or so there’s always been 2-2.”

Shooter Donnell Wallam, wing defence Amy Parmenter and young goal defender Matilda Garrett have added some fresh legs to the Diamonds squad.

Marinkovich said playing in Cairns and Hobart for the first time would also help re-energise the side, with the series being the first standalone against South Africa in 18 years.

To add another layer, the Proteas are coached by former Diamonds coach Norma Plummer.

“South Africa will be flying, they had some good games at the World Cup,” Marinkovich said.

“Being coached by Norma (Plummer) and she loves coaching in Australia, so there’s going to be a bit of hype around it and we’re going to some different places in Australia to play.

“There’s things that motivate you in different ways but we’ve got to rest and recover as quick as we can.”

The series will give Marinkovich further opportunity to experiment, particularly with her goal circle which is missing retired goal attack Steph Wood.

Kiera Austin will be rested with the coach likely to give both Carla Koenen and youngster Sophie Dwyer more court time at goal attack.

Marinkovich said it would take time to get the new combinations firing for all quarters.

“Those combinations haven’t had huge amount of experience in them; Cara (Koenen) hasn’t played internationally really out at goal attack.

“Theyr’e starting to challenge each other for starting roles … lots of lessons but we’re growing our experience and depth as well.”


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