Australia Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich hailed the standards set by captain Liz Watson as he team reaffirmed its position as world’s best team hashing England by 20 goals to win the Netball Nations Cup without losing a match.
Having put behind them the tumultuous 2023 which included a bitter pay dispute and a clean-out in the administration at Netball Australia, the on-court domination of the Diamonds remained in tact.
The Aussies went through the competition in the UK undefeated an after coming-from behind to take down the home side by just two-goals in a pool game last weekend, [put their foot down in the final at Leeds’ First Direct Arena with a 69-49 spanking their biggest win over England since 2016.
Watson, who made her own big-off season move to the Sunshine Coast Lightning last year, led the way which Marinkovich said was the skipper’s best trait.
“That (standard) is led by Lizzy (Watson) and the girls,” Marinkovich said of the high standards.
“They have a real squad mentality and we’ve got players back home that when they come in, they train exceptionally hard so everything builds and pushes the team that actually stepped out on the court and it’s something that they’ve really grasped hold of and they own.”
“I knew that we were really focused on the hard work, I think they pride themselves in it,” Marinkovich said when asked how the Diamonds went from two-goal winners over the Roses last weekend to such a dominant display in the final.
“It’s hard to win international netball. That’s been our theme for this game and I thought they came out of the blocks hard and we built momentum but everyone kept supporting each other.
“And then to be able to inject the changes and keep winning the fourth quarter was really pleasing.”
Star goal-shooter Sophie Garbin controlled the circle, making 31 of her 32 attempts to win player of the match honours and despite the dominance, Marinkovich was adamant her squad would only get better.
“There’s definitely room for improvement,” she said.
“But I think right here, right now, I just want to embrace what they’ve been able to achieve.
“It’s a great way to start the season and we’ll go back and see where we need to go.”