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Warm-up victory for Diamonds

Monday, July 21, 2014

GLASGOW, Scotland - Silly turnovers and rushed passes left Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander with a furrowed brow ahead of their Commonwealth Games campaign.

Alexander admitted her world champion team were "scratchy" on Saturday when hard pressed to beat a team comprised of players from English Superleague championship-winning side Manchester Thunder and the Australia A team.

The Thunder-select team pushed the Diamonds and led 14-13 after the first quarter before falling short 58-52.

"They (Diamonds) were, I'd have to say, a little bit scratchy, but it's understandable as they just came off a heavy training week," Alexander told AAP from Manchester.

"We didn't play our best.

"I think we rushed a lot of our passes in the first quarter and threw some really silly balls away and we really need to fix that up."

But with the opposing side featuring Australian training partners Erin Bell, Karen Bailey, Gabi Simpson and Rebecca Bulley, Alexander said the level of competition was higher than it otherwise would have been.

Former Diamond Chelsea Pitman, who recently signed for the Thunder, also suited up for her new team for the first time against her country.

Alexander said the match gave her the opportunity to try different combinations, particularly up front.

West Coast Fever attacking duo Natalie Medhurst and Caitlin Basset did not play together, instead sharing the goal circle with Tegan Caldwell and Caitlin Thwaites.

Alexander defended the inclusion of Caldwell and Thwaites in the side after British media questioned the decision not to include Bell and Diamonds stalwart Susan Pratley.

"We have to recognise in Australia that we have great playing depth and it's not easy to even get into the Australian team," she said.

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