Diamonds Watch Round 2: Who climbed, who fell

Steph Wood moves to the top of our shooters list after an impressive Round 2 performance. Paul Kane/Getty Images

As we countdown to the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, ESPN will rank current Diamonds squad members each week. As of March, the Diamonds had an 18 player squad, as well as five additional training partners that had been invited to a five-day training camp, but by the end of May the side will be culled.

With only 12 spots available, who will cement their place in the Australian Diamonds 2019 World Cup side?

(For this exercise we will rank players by their position, with the top four players making the 'selection'.)

Shooters

1. Stephanie Wood, GA (Last week 5): After a mixed bag in Round 1 Wood truly stepped up in Round 2 to move straight to top spot on our shooters rankings. While her whole Lightning side stepped up, Woods was seriously impressive as she made 18 from 20 attempts and her passing to Peace Proscovia was on song. A truly impressive midcourt intercept was the cherry on the cake for her performance.

2. Gretel Tippett, GA/GS/WA (Last week 3): Moving up the list from Round 1, Tippett looked to step up and do more than simply assist Romelda Aiken as they both shared the load against the Magpies. Recording 26 from 27, Tippett was strong against a physical defensive end and kept Magpies defender April Brandley relatively quiet.

3. Caitlin Thwaites, GS (Last week 1): Although she played exceptionally well in the Vixens' win over the Giants, Thwaites has dropped from her No.1 spot from Round 1. While strong again under the post and linking well with her shooting partner Tegan Phillip, Thwaites was sometimes stifled by defensive pressure, making four turnovers, while her shooting accuracy was down as she shot just 30 from 35 at 85 percent, well down on last week's 98 percent.

4. Tegan Phillip, GA (Last week 2): Falling slightly after an impressive Round 1, Phillip in no way played a poor game but defensive pressure certainly played its part in stalling her game. With 31 goals from 38 attempts, Phillip played a huge role in the Vixens win, but was outshone by her counterparts during across the round.

5. Caitlin Bassett (C), GS (Last week 4): Diamonds and Giants fans will be heartened by Bassett's display on Sunday as she continues to build confidence following her broken arm. Her accuracy at goal was up from last week at 89 percent, and she had strong spells during the game, but she made five turnovers and is clearly still not at her best.

Midcourt:

1. Kate Maloney, C/WD (Last week 4): Continuing her strong form from Round 1, Maloney took it to another level in Round 2 and was rewarded for her efforts with the Player of the Match. Clearly in control of the midcourt, Maloney had the better of both Giants centres Amy Parmenter and Kim Green, and fed the circle with aplomb.

2. Liz Watson, C/WA (Last week 1): Leading the comp in goal assists after two rounds, Watson was impressive again in the Vixens win as she continues to play herself into the Diamonds squad. While she may have been outdone by her centre court partner Maloney, Watson was integral in her side's win with some impressive feeds into the circle. Her two intercepts and two gains were also brilliant, however her eight turnovers took away from her game.

3. Kelsey Browne, WA/C (Last week 5): Once again providing her usual speed and agility, Browne stepped up from her opening round performance to make a move up our list. Firing in 23 goal assists and 35 feeds, Browne couldn't be kept away from the circle and was integral in the Magpies turning their game around.

4. Gabbi Simpson, WD (Last week 2): When has Simpson ever played a bad game? While she may have slipped in our list over the weekend, she was still one of the top performers in Round 2. After a slow start, Simpson stepped it up in the later quarters to put some pressure on the Magpies midcourt who made several mistakes, but she came out second best in her battle against Diamonds teammate Browne.

5. Kim Ravaillion, C/WA (Last week 6): Somewhat quiet compared to her fellow midcourters Browne and Ash Brazill, Ravaillion still had an impressive hit out against a determined Firebirds side. With just six goal assists and 13 feeds, Browne took on most of the duties around the circle.

6. Jamie-Lee Price, WD/C (Last week 3): After a seriously impressive opening match at centre, Price couldn't do the same this week at WD with Watson and Maloney given plenty of space to take control of the match. Making three turnovers and one intercept, Price struggled to get a foothold in the match.

7. Kiera Austin, GA/WA (Last week 6): Ranked as a GA last week, Austin played three quarters at WA for the Giants in their loss to the Vixens. Coming on in the second quarter, Austin made an impact from the bench, but was clearly outplayed by the more experienced Renae Ingles.

8. Jess Antsiss, C/WA (Last week 7): Starting the game at WD, Antsiss was quickly moved to centre before finishing the match on the bench as her side slowly fell apart. With just four goal assists and 14 feeds into the circle, Anstiss struggled to make any impact against the Lightning.

Defence

1. Emily Mannix, GD/GK (Last week 1): Again one of the best players on the court this week, Mannix was in red hot form during the Vixens win. Although Bassett wasn't quite at full strength yet, taking on Australia's best shooter is never an easy ask, but Mannix was up to the task. Recording five intercepts, five deflections and one rebound, the 25-year-old is sure to have caught Lisa Alexander's eye.

2. Sarah Klau, GK (Last week 2): Little could be taken away from Klau's performance in Round 2 as she continued to step up and take charge in the circle. Taking on New Zealand's Maria Folau for a half, Klau didn't step down from the competition and made her presence felt against the international star. Making five gains and one intercept, Klau's read of the play was brilliant.

3. Jo Weston, GD/GK (Last week 3): It was another impressive performance by Weston as she looked to shut down one of the world's best shooters in Jo Harten. While her defence partner Mannix stole the show, Weston's work can't be ignored as she constricted the Giants midcourt to take one intercept and five deflections.

4. April Brandley, GK/GD (Last week 4): Kept quiet again in Round 2, Brandley made just one intercept and one gain with Tippett looking unphased by the defender. While still making our top four, Brandley will need to step up against the Giants to impress selectors.

5. Courtney Bruce, GK/GD (Last week 5): NA - forced to the sideline with an elbow injury, Bruce was unavailable in Round 2.

Who to watch:

Laura Sherian WA: Another player invited to the Diamonds training camp earlier this year, Sherian would have surely grabbed Alexander's attention after her impressive display against the Fever. Gelling well with her midcourt partners, Sherian had the better of both her WD opponents from the opening whistle and slotted some impressive balls into her shooters.

Paige Hadley WA/C: Hadley showed why she was invited to the Diamonds training camp ahead of the season with another near-perfect performance for the Swifts. Moving to centre for Round 2, Hadley applied strong defensive pressure while also producing strong feeds into her shooters.

Ash Brazill WD: Yet again Brazill is pushing for a Diamonds call-up after a brilliant performance for the Magpies. Giving Firebirds WA Nevins little space, Brazill was on the midcourter from the opening whistle and pulled of some stunning intercepts, including one on the goal circle. With three gains and two intercepts, Brazill was the top performer in the WD bib.