Diamonds says 'pressure is a privilege' ahead of Commonwealth Games gold defence

  "Pressure is a privilege."

Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett quoted tennis legend Billie Jean King ahead of Australia's quest for consecutive Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast next month.

The Diamonds are chasing a fourth gold in six attempts and will look to avenge the final they lost to New Zealand at their last home Games in Melbourne 2006.

Half the 12-player squad are set to make their Commonwealth Games debut and they've gathered at the AIS this week to make final preparations.

Australia swept their quad series with New Zealand, England and South Africa in January are $1.65 favourites to win gold on the Gold Coast.

Bassett said they thrive on the pressure and will feed off their world No. 1 ranking to make sure they deliver for the home crowd.


"Pressure is a privilege I think Billie Jean King said and it's something we really pride ourselves on," Bassett said.

"A Commonwealth Games is like nothing you've ever experienced... and having that target on our back really adds that accountability to our team.

"We set the bar high for ourselves and gold is definitely what we're aiming for but it's a marathon, not a sprint, and every game is going to be challenging.

"We know every time we step out on court we have to be bringing our A-game."

Coach Lisa Alexander echoed the comments of and said the group had a legacy to uphold.

"We want to build on the enormous success of the Diamonds of the past. We draw strength from that and we make sure we have it around us," Alexander said.

"We have photos of past teams up to inspire us to greater heights and to keep us accountable for our performances.

"We've been preparing for this one since Glasgow [2014 Games] and there have been enormous gains made by all the athletes in skill and physical and psychological preparation for this tournament.

"It's extremely tough and what Australians need to understand is this is not just the Commonwealth countries, this the world's best countries."

Laura Geitz will play in her third Commonwealth Games despite not playing international netball since 2015. The former Diamonds skipper she gave birth to her first child in February last year.

Alexander backed Geitz to have a huge impact on Australia's campaign, but said her selection was no formality.

"At the end of the day everyone has to prove themselves in front of the selectors and we were able to see Laura compete," Alexander said.

"She mentally wanted it and still has that competitive urge and drive which you have to have. If you're representing your country it has to be all in and Laura is all in.

"She's a very proud athlete and she wouldn't put herself up for selection if she didn't feel she was ready and she's the one that wants the brutal feedback.

"She says 'Lisa tell me how it is, if I'm not right let me know' but I could certainly see she was getting back to her best and I think she'll contribute enormously to our team."

Australia has squared off with the Kiwis in all five Commonwealth Games finals but Basset admitted they draw inspiration from their trans-Tasman rival's rugby team.

"We look to the All Blacks for inspiration, the way they go about things is second to none," Bassett said.

"They're a high performing team and world class and their success over a long period of time is definitely something we want to emulate.

"While New Zealand have been our deepest darkest enemy, I think it's good to look at what they [All Blacks] have done and better that ourselves."