She’s one of her closest friends, but Diamonds captain Laura Geitz will have to put aside her affection for Romelda Aiken when the Australia do battle with Jamaica in the Netball World Cup semi-finals.
As Queensland Firebirds teammates eight years, Geitz and Aiken know each others’ games back to front.
But in the international arena on Saturday, all that intel will very much be used against the other, when Geitz likely pulls on the goal keeper bib to face Jamaica’s star shooter.
“It’s like coming up against one of your best mates,” Geitz said.
“We’ve both got very competitive bones in our bodies, so we put everything aside for 60 minutes and at the end of it you hope to walk off and still both be in one piece and have a bit of a smile.
“Hopefully we get the result we’re after.”
Aiken, the highest goal-scorer of the Firebirds’ triumphant trans-Tasman season, is the hurdle the Diamonds have to jump to reach the world titles grand final.
The only problem is she can jump higher than just about anyone.
No one encapsulates the Sunshine Girls’ signature athleticism and aerial skill more than Aiken – Geitz describes the 26-year-old as “the best at what she does”.
Aiken thought the same about Geitz.
“I haven’t played against her in a really long, long time,” Aiken said.
“It should be very interesting.
“It’s going to be a tough game and no matter what … we are definitely going out for a win.”
For Australia to prevail, they need to make sure the ball never even reaches the circle where Jamaica’s not-so-secret weapon will be waiting.
The midcourt, therefore, will be one of the defending world champions’ main areas of focus.
Coach Lisa Alexander recognised the challenge.
“It’s really what we need to do to combat obviously Romelda being in there, but it’s not just about the battle on Romelda,” she said.
“It’s about making sure that there’s pressure up the court so that our defence can have a go if there happens to be a ball that’s not delivered in the right place that we’re in intercepting or deflecting position.”