Australian captain Clare McMeniman says New Zealand will probably have an edge in match fitness going into Sunday's opening Constellation Cup netball Test
Photo Source: AAP
Australian netball captain Clare McMeniman concedes New Zealand will have an edge in match fitness when the world's top two netball nations resume their compelling rivalry on Sunday.
The Test in Sydney will be the first of four Constellation Cup matches in 12 days across the two countries.
The Diamonds pipped the Silver Ferns by five goals in their last clash in the Quad Series in Melbourne in early September.
While Australia haven't played since then, New Zealand completed a 3-0 home sweep of Jamaica last month.
"They have had a little bit of extra time to work on their combinations and have that match fitness," McMeniman said.
"We've been working hard in terms of the three weeks we've had away from the netball court and what we've been doing, but it's difficult to replicate that match fitness and the intensity that you get from playing games, so they probably do have a little bit of an edge on us in that."
Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby downplayed any advantage her team might get from playing more recently than the Diamonds.
"You could say that it does (give us an edge in match fitness) but that's water under the bridge by the time you get out there," Southby told AAP.
"We expect them (Australia) to be always tough and relentless and it's a really fast and physical game when we play them.
"What they've been working on the last month or two since we last met them we don't know at this stage.
"There's always that element that they could bring something else to change their game, particularly from a personnel point of view."
Defender Jo Weston and shooter Gretel Tippett have been recalled to the Diamonds squad in place of Kristiana Manu'a and Stephanie Wood, both of who made their Test debut in the Quad Series.
The Silver Ferns have added two veterans to their squad in defender Anna Harrison and shooter Maria Tutaia.
Southby suggested Tutaia, who hasn't played a Test in over a year after taking a break and then getting injured, will play limited minutes early in the series.
While New Zealand have had issues settling on a shooting combination since Irene van Dyk retired in 2014, the return of Tutaia and the emergence of Te Paea Selby-Rickit , Bailey Mes and Queensland-born Ameliaranne Ekenasio gives Southby plenty of options.
"Ameliaranne played really well in the Quad Series against us and she's definitely one to watch and a force to be reckoned with," McMeniman said.