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Diamonds target clean sweep of NZ

Sport

The quest for just the second Constellation Cup clean sweep and a more complete performance will drive Australia in the final match of the series in Sydney on Saturday.

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The Diamonds took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-game series with a 55-43 win over New Zealand in Adelaide last night.

It was the seventh time in the eight years of the competition they have held the trophy, but only in 2014 were they able to sweep the Silver Ferns.

“We may have won the Constellation Cup now, but we want to finish four-zip and that’s what we’re going to aim to do,” said Diamonds’ wing attack Liz Watson.

New Zealand captain and defender Katrina Grant said motivating her side for game four wouldn’t be hard even though the match was effectively a dead rubber.

“You do not want to go four-nil down,” Grant told the Nine network.

“The desire is there for us and we want to win this game.”

Diamonds; coach Lisa Alexander said her team needed to lift their game.

“We want more,” Alexander said.

“This group really wants to perform at its absolute best in Sydney over four quarters.’

While Australia won the second and fourth quarters in Adelaide 18-9 and 17-9 respectively, they were outscored 15-8 in the third.

“We just lost our way and went away from our game plan in that third quarter,” Alexander said.

She was disappointed Australia had problems bringing the ball out of their defence end after winning precious turnovers.

Alexander made several changes to her starting seven through the game.

She brought on Stephanie Wood for Susan Pettitt at wing attack at quarter-time, put Jo Weston in at goal defence for April Brandley late in the third.

Alexander then made two more changes at the last break, replacing captain and goal shooter Caitlin Bassett with Caitlin Thwaites and giving Kate Moloney a debut at centre in place of Kim Ravaillion.

“When those girls came on they knew exactly what their role was,” Watson said.

“You could see them step out there and put out what we know works for us and what we’ve been training.”

– AAP

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