Cailtin Bassett-Geva Mentor clash critical for Diamonds

Geva Mentor and Caitlin Bassett tussle for the ball during the Commonwealth Games Gold medal match. Michael Dodge/Getty Images

From foes to friends to foes again on the netball court.

A heavyweight Quad Series clash between Australian captain Caitlin Bassett and England goalkeeper Geva Mentor continues a roller coaster relationship between two players who can both lay claim to the mantle of being the world's best.

Their duel under the hoop will go some way towards determining the Test outcome in Newcastle on Wednesday.

Goalshooter Bassett said it's a sign of modern netball's itinerant landscape that the pair were Super Netball-winning teammates for four months with the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Before that, they'd locked horns in the Commonwealth Games gold-medal match with Mentor's Roses emerging one-goal winners in a thriller on the Gold Coast.

"There wasn't a lot of time to reflect, we just had to get over it, learn from it and move on," Bassett said.

"Obviously I played against Geva in that final and then had to be her friend the next day when we started kitting up for Lightning.

"I'm looking forward to another tight contest with her. They're a quality side and they're going to want to prove they are the red-hot contenders for this series."

Both were on song in the Quad Series opening leg in Auckland, turning the Newcastle match into a virtual tournament decider.

Bassett delivered her customary plus-90 per cent shooting return (31 from 34) for the world champions in their 61-44 defeat of South Africa.

Mentor, 34, was imposing at the back for world No.2 England in a 52-39 strangling of New Zealand.

The Silver Ferns shooters struggled for opportunities close to the hoop and their percentages suffered, scoring only five goals in the final quarter.

Roses coach Tracey Neville was delighted not only with Mentor's influence but with how well the absence of Games final defenders Eboni Beckford-Chambers and Beth Cobden was covered.

Layla Guscoth impressed at goal defence after several years away from the international scene while veteran mid-courter Jade Clarke did the job at wing defence.

Clarke will be preparing for the possibility of marking rookie Diamonds dynamo Kelsey Browne, who made a stunning Test debut at wing attack against the Proteas.

Replacing the more accomplished Liz Watson at half-time, Browne brought an energy which Bassett said made a significant difference to Australia's attacking game as they dominated the second half.