Diamonds look for harder edge against NZ

Steph Wood Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Australia's world champion Quad Series-seeking netballers are looking for a harder edge to their play against a New Zealand side invigorated by a new leadership regime.

The Diamonds will take out the four-nation tournament if they win their final game in Melbourne on Sunday against a Silver Ferns side boosted by the return of midcourt ace Laura Langman and a new coach, Noeline Taurua.

Australia have won their last six Tests against their traditional rival and recorded bigger margins with each game, culminating in a 21-goal thrashing in a Commonwealth Games semi-final on the Gold Coast in April.

England's continued improvement has seen them replace the Kiwis as the world's No.2-ranked nation, a place they justified with a 13-goal victory over the Silver Ferns in the opening round of the Quad Series.

New Zealand bounced back with a comfortable 24-goal margin over South Africa so Australia are keen to stem the Silver Ferns' resurgence.

Diamonds' coach Lisa Alexander said the top three teams were very close and felt Australia needed to go harder on Sunday than they did in their five-goal win over England in Newcastle on Wednesday.

'We need to make sure we take the ball strongly whether we use our screens or space," she said.

Alexander felt the Silver Ferns win over South Africa meant they were tracking in the right directions under Taurua, who knows the Australian game well given her coaching Super Netball success with the Sunshine Coast.

"Noeline knows our style of play pretty well, when she's coaching in our league, so we're not taking this lightly at all." Alexander said.

Shooter Caitlin Thwaites agreed the Diamonds could not afford to relax.

"Just because England have joined the party at the top, we're always cautious of what New Zealand bring," she said.

"They put out a really good performance against South Africa and I think it's really exciting for us to be out there with a challenge."

Meanwhile, shooter Stephanie Wood was still receiving treatment for a thigh injury that forced her from the court at halftime against England.