The Constellation Cup 2019 was a fantastic spectacle. The last time Australia played New Zealand was in the World Cup final earlier this year. A close match, competitive, tough and in the end a one-goal defeat for Australia. There was no doubt the next time we faced each other our rivalry with the Silver Ferns would only grow. When the final whistle blew that was exactly how the Constellation Cup played out to be.
The build-up to Constellation Cup 2019 was different for all of us. We were all based in our home states and training with our respective coaches and fellow teammates who were part of the Aussie program preparing for the International calendar. Some players were still competing in the Suncorp Super Netball Finals while others had a little more “chill” time before getting back into training.
The four-game series on the road in New Zealand started in Christchurch about five days before our first game. We had all recently come off the Suncorp Super Netball season so our preparation focussed on getting the connections between players back, working on our analysis and mentally preparing for game one of the test series.
Game 1 & 2 – Away in New Zealand
Losing by one goal in Game 1 was very disappointing. However, that game gave us a lot to look at and consider. As a team, we reflected on our performance and tweaked our approach for the next game. The adjustment in our play worked well for us, winning by six goals in front of a very noisy New Zealand crowd in Auckland.
Laura Langman is an awesome netballer. My very first opponent in my Vixens dress in a practice match in Tassie in 2014. She is such a tough competitor and the first two tests were a big challenge against her. My focus for our last two tests in Australia would be to curb her influence on the game while lifting my own work rate for my team.
Game 2 & 3 – Home in Australia
Flying to Sydney everyone was pumped to be back on Aussie soil and play in front of our home crowd. However, once again losing by one goal in a match where we looked comfortable in stages in the first half was disappointing. It showed that at the top level you can never let your guard down. Great teams and great players never throw in the towel and 60 minutes of intense concentration was needed to defeat a team as good as the Silver Ferns.
We flew straight to Perth after that game to spend a week there before the final match, the decider. The week in between game 3 and 4 allowed us to re-energise for a final tilt at winning the series the following Sunday.
The Perth weather was fantastic. Staying on Scarborough beach, training, morning beach swims, coffee and walking, it felt like everyone was relaxed and starting to feel refreshed before our final game of the year. We did it!!!
We started well at RAC Arena in Perth, in front of a record number of screaming Aussies. Our captain, CBass’ 100th game, Caity Thwaites’ final match for Australia along with Maddy Turner making her debut made the occasion a special one. We came away with a seven-goal win!
Post Match, Post Series
We had about 45 minutes together in the change rooms after the game to spend together before we all flew off to our home states, we ate pizza and had a toast to what was a successful tour and an awesome way to final off the netball season of 2019. A huge season for all professional Netballers with the World Cup jammed in the middle of it.
The Diamonds experience is always special. Teammates who are foes throughout the Suncorp Netball Season are lots of fun on road trips. New voices and perspectives from Coaching and Conditioning staff help to round out your experience as a professional athlete.
Everyone now enjoys a 6-week break before getting ready for season 2020.