The match-up between Ameliaranne Ekenasio (L) and Courtney Bruce (R) will be one to watch in the 2022 Constellation Cup. (Photos: Silver Ferns; Netball Australia)

Starting this Wednesday, another instalment of the Constellation Cup between one of the longest rivalries in netball go head-to-head, between the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns.

There’s plenty of new and returning faces doing battle across the two teams. The Inner Sanctum goes in depth and the matchups to keep an eye on throughout this upcoming Constellation Cup series.

Courtney Bruce vs. Ameliaranne Ekenasio

Ameliaranne Ekenasio built up her form in the recent Taini Jamison Trophy series, finding her shooting range and volume.

Having the ability to hit long-range shots from anywhere, the match-up with Bruce will be one to watch. With Bruce able to force shooters to shoot from long range, and with her long reach over the shot, both players’ strengths will go head-to-head.

In the series against Jamaica, Ekenasio got back to her finest form, shooting at 100 per cent from seven attempts in game one, and 16 from 17 over three quarter in the second game of the series.

Her experience will be well-needed in the Silver Ferns attacking end. If Bruce can take Ekenasio out of the game consistently for four quarters, the Diamonds can take the series out amongst havoc for the Silver Ferns attackers.

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Liz Watson vs. Kayla Johnson

Coming off her strong Commonwealth Games form, helping her country win bronze at the Commonwealth Games, Kayla Johnson offers versatility in this Silver Ferns squad.

She has the capacity to go into the midcourt if necessary, using her athleticism and long arms to shut down attackers in the past.

If Watson can combine with the likes of Jamie-Lee Price and Maddy Proud, she will be unstoppable, consistently hitting circle edge and feeding into the attacking end.

In the Taini Jamison Trophy Series, Johnson struggled to find her feet at wing defence. If she can re-capture her best form and limit Watson’s touches of the ball, the Silver Ferns have a chance to win the series.

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Kelly Jury vs. Cara Koenen

It’s been quite the year for Kelly Jury, being named MVP of the final in the the Pulse’s ANZ Premiership championship side.

With Jane Watson out after the birth of her child back in May and Karin Burger still recovering from injury, Jury has played a key role in the defensive end for the Silver Ferns in both the Commonwealth Games and the series against Jamaica.

Cara Koenen has some big shoes to fill, after the recent pregnancy news of Gretel Bueta. This matchup could be an intriguing one throughout the series, with Koenen having to step up in the GS position.

Koenen’s strength is her ability to hold strongly, while Jury is good at marking her opposition between the ball and player. Expect both players to go at it throughout the series as they turn up the physicality.

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