Northern Quad Series preview: Round 2

WITH round one of the 2019 Northern Quad Series out of the way, the Australian Diamonds, New Zealand Silver Ferns, South African Spar Proteas and English Roses will be looking forward to a big weekend of Quad Series action over January 19-20.

The second round of matches will see the Australian Diamonds play their rival the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Saturday at 4:30 pm (3:30 am AEDT), while the England Roses come up against a steadily strengthening South Africa Spar Proteas side at 7:00 pm (6:00 am AEDT).

The Australian Diamonds will hope to start strong in round two after a sloppy start against South Africa in round one, however the Ferns will fight hard to steal a win from the Aussies after an even start and disappointing end to their match against the Roses last week. With the Aussies having won three of four matches in the October 2018 Constellation Cup, New Zealand will be back with a vengeance to recreate their home soil win and take the Quad Series title from the Diamonds.

The Diamonds will still be without captain Caitlin Bassett due to injury, so will hope to settle into this match quicker and stronger than their wobbly start against the Spar Proteas. New Zealand will be sure to capitalise on the lack of Bassett with returning defender, Casey Kopua and dynamic vertical leap of Jane Watson. Shooters, Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekanasio showed off their accuracy last week against the Roses but could not get through England’s defensive midcourt, so the Diamonds will have to be clinical in their defensive efforts downcourt to stop the ball from getting to goal. Goalkeeper Courtney Bruce had a quiet game last week so will want to build on her efforts to shut down Folau, while the Aussie side will want to clean up their act to continue their domination of the Quad Series thus far.

Game two of the round will see the English Roses take on the South Africa Spar Proteas. The Roses had a shock to the system in the 2018 Southern Quad Series in Melbourne, when the Spar Proteas took control of the game early on and only relented in the dying stage of the match. Fifth ranking South Africa also had a stellar start against Australia last week before fading out, so will want to start strong again against the Roses and come out with a win. England shooter Jo Harten is back in the side after a short stint out with injury, so South Africa defenders Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius will need to stay on top form to get in the way of England’s dynamic shooting pair of Harten and Helen Housby. England’s defensive centre third tactic will play a key role in keeping South Africa’s centre court speedster Bongi Msomi under control, while Roses defenders Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown are sure to make the goal circle tough work for star Proteas shooter Lenize Potgieter.

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