WITH the Constellation Cup over and Australia claiming victory for the seventh consecutive year we take a look at the performances from each Diamond across the four game series and rank them. They are listed in order of who influenced the contest most.
There is no denying that Gretel Tippett well and truly announced herself on the world stage once more only missing a mere three goals and sinking 82 goals from 85 attempts at 96 per cent across the four games. She is a real game changer for the Diamonds with her strength in the air and at aground level with her strong drives and high leap. Although costly at times in terms of turnovers, Tippett thrives on the physicality of the contest and can exploit opponents with her sheer athleticism and dynamic movement. Her second phase work and work rate is impressive able to cover the court with ease and seamlessly rotate through the circle to remain a real threat.
Fan favourite Ash Brazill, well and truly left her mark on the international stage claiming MVP honours in the final game of the Constellation Cup and showcasing her versatility switching from her typical wing defence role to centre. The explosive and highly athletic midcourter did not leave anything to chance especially in the final game running laps around her opponents. Despite taking some time to find her feet in the opening game Brazill was not overawed by the opportunity and did not look out of place credit to her defensive pressure.
In her hundredth game the Diamonds captain put on an absolute masterclass, moving around the circle with ease and reeling in stray passes. It was a vintage performance from the goal shooter who turned back time making full use of her height and strength. Although her previous three games were not up to the same standard as her final performance Bassett was consistent and provided a strong target under the post sinking 87 goals from 99 attempts at 88 per cent for the series.
In what would be her last international campaign Thwaites made the most of her opportunities oozing composure and accuracy. The talented goaler made no mistake using her experience and silky movement to pose a threat under the post. She did not play in the second game of the series but featured in all three others playing a huge role in Game 3 with 16 goals from 17 attempts. She finished the series with 25 goals from 27 attempts and will be sorely missed in the Diamonds side.
Although she missed the first game, Bruce came back with a vengeance using her physicality to get into the heads of her opponents and wreak havoc in the defensive third. Her speed, lean over the shot and dynamic movement was a real feature in the Diamonds win in Game 2 with the goal keeper capitalising on anything that came her way. She notched up 16 gains for the series along with six intercepts credit to her impressive defensive prowess.
The 31-year-old made her debut for the green and gold and did not skip a beat. With speed to boot Scherian nipped around the court to receive the ball and deliver it into Bassett time and time again. She relished the extra court time and although she tired at times showed plenty of grit to work herself back into the contest and create clever second phase plays. She was a real energiser bunny often unmarked around the circle edge credit to her speed and grew with confidence as the series progressed.
The ever-reliable Watson was tasked with a challenging opponent, spending large amounts of time against Langman. However, she stood up in Game 2 taking it to the veteran Silver Fern using her strength, endurance and smarts to have an impact across the court. she went missing at times but ran hard both ways applying both offensive and defensive pressure. Watson worked hard on the circle edge with 63 goal assists credit to her vision and variety of feeds into the circle.
She was relatively hot and cold throughout the Constellation Cup. Klau got the start in the first game but was and truly outclassed by Ferns shooting duo Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio. When she came on as an impact player in future games she shut down her opponent and highlighted her versatility moving out to goal defence at times.
The Melbourne Vixens goal defence offered plenty of defensive pressure down back but was costly at times giving away her fair share of contacts and obstructions. She has plenty of speed and can read the play with ease able to pick off passes but struggled to maintain her pressure over four quarter fading in and out of games.
The youngster made her much awaited debut in the last game of the series and had an immediate impact forcing a held ball on no other than Maria Folau along with a huge intercept. She played with confidence and backed herself in the short time she was given. An exciting prospect going forward for the Diamonds.
A broken wrist in the second game ended, Hadley’s series early but when on court she offered plenty of versatility and strength. She hustled hard for prime position on the circle edge and made her opponent accountable with her strong drives and quick ball movement. Hadley faded in and out of games a bit unable to have a full four quarter impact against the likes of Katrina Rore and Laura Langman.
Price really struggled to find her feet throughout the series with the young up-and-coming wing defence relegated to the bench for majority of the Constellation Cup. However, when she did make an appearance she was a fraction off the pace given the amount of time out of the game. Did some really clever things though using her speed and defensive pressure to limit her oppositions access to the ball.
The Melbourne Vixens goaler had an up and down international series standing up at times and crumbling at others when the pressure was on. Her movement was solid while her connection with Thwaites was undeniable with the two moving well to create space.