Memo from Vicki Wilson to New Zealand netball: you need to find your identity and you need to find it quickly.
The Aussie netball great has tipped the host team to play Jamaica in tomorrow's gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games, which would be a break with tradition.
But not before New Zealand get one more crack at their greatest netball rivals — Australia's Diamonds — in the semifinals.
Transtasman rivalry is so intense, the only thing certain today is tears.
That and the Commonwealth Games retirement of New Zealand goal shoot Maria Folau.
A defeat for the Silver Ferns today will spark recriminations in netball.
For the entire stretch of the sport's Commonwealth Games history since 1998 — and this is a popular game across the Commonwealth — these two countries have always played for the gold medal. Until now.
"What is exciting ... there's not going to be the same people playing, the same countries, and that's exciting," said Wilson, who is working with the Fiji team at the Games.
"New Zealand don't have cohesiveness in their forward line, there's a stutter there. I also think New Zealand need to work out what style they want to play.
"They've gone man-on-man but their greatest strength has always been playing zone ... they need to work out their true identity."
But Wilson said defending champion Australia's combination of speed and skill would see them win gold, with Jamaica taking silver.
New Zealand qualified for the semifinals on goal percentage despite losses to England and Malawi, with their progress ultimately relying on Uganda not beating Scotland by too much.
Depsite New Zealand's woeful form in both the lead-up and during the Games, Australia remain wary of their greatest rivals.
Diamonds centre Kate Ravaillion, is convinced the Ferns have enough fight left in them to continue their storied rivalry.
"You can never underestimate them," Ravaillion said. "Expect nothing but a really good New Zealand side and expect nothing but the best performance from us."
Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant was reduced to tears in a television interview while defending her embattled side after their latest loss to England this week. Ravaillion knows a win against Australia would answer all the questions thrown at New Zealand about the amount of pride in their black skirt.
"They'd be feeling that — and I think they'll step up against us, I think they'll really bring it to us," she said.
Where New Zealand have struggled, Australia have flourished, notching their third-highest total in a 108-23 defeat of Fiji and breezing by medal contenders Jamaica 72-51 to average a winning margin of 50 points on the Gold Coast. Jamaica's Sunshine Girls play England in the first of the two semifinals at Coomera Indoor Sports Centre today. AP