Diamonds coach reminds players of national duty
AUSSIE netball coach Lisa Alexander says the crisis engulfing cricket is a timely wake-up call to all national teams about the heavy weight of responsibility they carry when representing their country.
Ahead of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, the Diamonds are in a training camp on the Sunshine Coast for a series of practice games.
Alexander said she contacted the netball team's leadership group as soon as news of the ball-tampering drama in South Africa broke over the weekend.
"If something like this happens in our national conversation, we will be talking about it," Alexander said.
"I texted the leaders straight away when it all happened and said it's a great reminder to us about the fact that we are playing sport, we are representing our country, we need to understand that duty that we have to our country.
"They (the public) pay for us, for a start, through our taxes and so therefore our behaviour has to be spot-on. Everyone does make mistakes but at the end of the day I would never ask players to break rules on purpose. It's just not on.
"It shouldn't be on. It shouldn't be encouraged by anyone, any coach at any level of any sport.''
Alexander hopes the high tensions between Australia and rival sporting nations since the cricket drama does not spill over into the grandstand between spectators at the Commonwealth Games.
The Diamonds play South Africa on Sunday, April 8 in a pool game.
"I'll be interested if it does happen. I'd expect some of the crowd to be on our side though and the crowd to… mitigate their own behaviour. I don't particularly like to hear things that are not appropriate,'' Alexander said.
As far as playing is concerned, Alexander says the starting seven for Australia's opening hit-out at the Games remains up in the air.
The gold medal favourites begin their campaign on the Gold Coast on Thursday, April 5 against Northern Ireland and have gone into a mini-camp on the Sunshine Coast to fine-tune their preparations.
Alexander will use practice matches against the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning over the coming days to decide who gets first crack at Northern Ireland.
The Diamonds won 71-47 on Thursday morning over a team made up of the Firebirds and fringe Australian squad players.
The Aussies will also take on the reigning Suncorp Super Netball champions the Lightning on Saturday before returning to the athletes' village.
Liz Watson started at wing attack ahead of Madi Robinson on Thursday. Defenders Courtney Bruce (goal keeper) and Jo Weston (goal defence) started, with Laura Geitz and April Brandley on the bench.
Susan Pettitt was the starting goal attack ahead of Steph Wood.
Caitlin Bassett, Gabi Simpson and Kim Ravaillion are the locks for the starting side.
Alexander said regardless of who gets the nod to start, she wants the Diamonds to embrace a squad mentality.