The adrenaline is pumping, and Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander says she can see the hunger in her players’ eyes as they embark on a Netball World Cup semi-final showdown with Jamaica.
Australia are a mere two days away from a potential world title grand final with either New Zealand or England, and the world No.4 Sunshine Girls are the only thing standing in the way.
“They’re as ready as ever … the hunger and desire is there, so it’s just got to be put out on court,” Alexander said.
“It’s going to be an enormous game.”
After watching the squad’s 65-point thrashing of Wales on Friday night, Alexander was comfortable her squad had finally tied up the loose ends that have been threatening to derail the defending world champions’ bid for an 11th World Cup win and third on the trot.
Defensive pressure, loose-ball pick-ups and set plays off timeouts were all on formidable show in Australia’s final qualifying match at Sydney’s Allphones Arena, albeit against a less-than-demanding opposition.
“They’re all the little things that matter when you’re playing finals and tight games, when you’ve got to close out a game and win the match,” Alexander said.
Weary legs were again rested and the players already had one eye on Saturday’s knockout clash as they eased past their Welsh counterparts 89-24 to finish top of Pool F.
The eighth-ranked Welsh outfit put the pressure on early, but the underdogs’ uprising didn’t last, as they struggled to keep the rampant Diamonds in check.
It was the perfect note to end the hosts’ qualifying round, and will complement the tactical preparation they’ve already done on Jamaica and their intimidatingly talented spearhead Romelda Aiken.
“We’ve put some plans in place for Romelda for goal shooter or Jhaniele (Fowler-Reid), if we end up having that as well,” Alexander said.
“And if Romelda goes back to keeper, we’ve got all of that covered.”
For the players, the moment has come.
Captain Laura Geitz said their bodies were stepping up to the occasion.
“It’s just exciting now,” Geitz said.
“It’s been a big week, and now this is what you look forward to.
“There’s a lot of talk about sore bodies and a lot of netball being played, but it doesn’t strike with you anymore.
“There’s just so much adrenaline and excitement running through your veins that you just want to get out there.
“We want to do the job and earn ourselves a spot in the grand final.”
New Zealand will play England in Saturday’s other semi-final match-up.