There a few cast-iron guarantees when New Zealand meets Australia on a netball court, Silver Ferns captain Julie Seymour said today.
Seymour, who has been battling Australian teams on and off for the last 14 years, laughed when asked to analyse the world champion's strengths ahead of next Wednesday's opening test in Christchurch.
"Where do I start? They've got accurate shooters, mobile fast feeders and strong defenders, pretty much what you always strike from the Aussies," she told NZPA today.
"They're fast, determined, accurate and dogged - all those typical Aussie traits."
The Silver Ferns, fresh from a five-day training camp earlier this month in Melbourne, have gathered in Christchurch to build up for a short, sharp two-test series ending in Auckland on Saturday.
Seymour said the 12-strong squad had trained well, with only a couple of low-key injuries - a bang on the knee for defender Leana de Bruin and a minor hip problem which meant a day off training for Seymour.
The Australians have been hit with a couple more significant injuries - the first coming last month when captain Sharelle McMahon was ruled out for the entire international season following surgery on her left knee.
Earlier this week, goal attack Natalie Medhurst was also ruled out of Australia's two-test series in New Zealand after she underwent surgery to remove her appendix.
But Seymour, whose international career has taken in 88 tests since 1994, isn't expecting those absences to make the Silver Ferns' task any easier.
"Every year they seem to produce strong line-ups. We know they've got that depth there, so while some players retire or move on or are unavailable, they always seem to have someone very capable ready to step into their shoes."
Long-serving defender Liz Ellis, a perennial thorn in New Zealand sides over the years who retired after last November's world championship win, was a case in point, Seymour said.
"It's hard to imagine an Australian team without Liz Ellis, but when someone goes, someone else has usually been sitting on the sideline dying to get a chance, and they usually come out guns blazing."
The New Zealanders have had plenty of opportunity to look at their Australian rivals - new and old - over the last few months, over the 17 weeks of the trans-Tasman netball league which ended in late July.
But even allowing for that, Seymour said, players would be appearing in different combinations which would have a huge effect on the way they played.
"The ANZ championship really opened up a whole lot of new faces for us. It takes the mystery away from some of their players, but the thing you can't predict is how people are going to gel and work together.
"While we know the Australians by name, and know their style of play, what we're a little bit unsure of is how they'll gel together as a unit, and what they'll bring to that unit."
Over the next few days, Seymour said, the Silver Ferns will be looking to improve their own cohesion while working on ways to exploit any inexperience in the Australian combinations.