NETBALL: Liz Watson is refusing to think ahead of this month's Constellation Cup as she continues to enhance her claim on a starting midcourt berth with the Diamonds for next year's Commonwealth Games.
As the Diamonds hit back from their quad series loss to New Zealand with a three-goal win over the Silver Ferns in Auckland on Thursday, the Melbourne Vixens' vice-captain took another step towards establishing herself as the team's first choice wing attack.
Watson was given the starting nod at wing attack alongside Kim Ravallion in centre in the first Constellation Cup battle, carrying on her encouraging form from August's quad series as the team's long-time star in the position - Madi Robinson - sits out this four-Test scrimmage.
While Watson said she felt more comfortable every time she stepped on court with the Diamonds, the 23-year-old acknowledged every player in the team was only as safe as their last performance.
"It's obviously a dream to be there (Commonwealth Games), but we know how hard you have to work to get there and our squad is so talented that we can chop and change players in and out based on performance,'' Watson said.
"Even with the 13 players travelling with us on this tour, we know that performance is huge and that is what we're getting used to game after game.
"I'm not thinking about that at all. I'm here for Constellation Cup right now and making sure that the main focus at this point in time is game two, then game three and then whatever happens from there is going to be based on the performances that you put out right now.''
Watson, who now has nine Test caps to her name, felt her game had already grown since the start of the quad series, which followed a best-and-fairest season with the Melbourne Vixens.
"In the quad series, I had opportunties to get on court and have a taste of it and now I feel a lot more comfortable and confident, especially in that wing attack position,'' Watson said.
The Diamonds arrived in Christchurch on Friday for Sunday's second Constellation Cup Test against their arch rivals before the series heads to Australia for the last two Tests in Adelaide and Sydney.
Diamonds' coach Lisa Alexander will select the final 12 for the second Test from the travelling party of 13 after training on Saturday, with Caitlyn Nevins getting the nod ahead of Kate Moloney in the opening battle.
Watson said the Diamonds would draw confidence from their physical first-Test victory against the Silver Ferns, but the team needed to find a way to keep improving.
"Obviously the way that we ended the quad series was not how we wanted, so for us to come out the way that we did ... we will definitely take a lot of confidence from that game,'' Watson said.
"To do it over in New Zealand was extra special, the crowd was really loud and really intense, especially in that last five minutes. It was credit to our team how composed and how connected we stayed.
"But we've still got lots to learn from that game and there are a few mistakes that we want to get rid of, so that will be the focus leading into game two."
Watson said she was looking forward to seeing her Vixens' teammate Moloney break into the team.
"I know when she gets her opportunity she will make the most of it and she deserves to be here so she will get her time very soon," Watson said.
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