Diamonds Watch Round 4: Who climbed, who fell

Caitlin Bassett and Laura Clemesha challenge for the ball. Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

After another intense round that saw the Swifts suffer their first defeat, while the Vixens could only pull out the draw against Fever, some of Australia's best players continued to raise their hand for Diamonds World Cup selection.

With Lisa Alexander and her selection panel set to come together in Melbourne on Saturday and spend the weekend making some very difficult decisions, we're just over a week away from finding out who'll be on the plane to Liverpool.

Below we've ranked each current Diamonds squad member based on their latest performance. 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. Caitlin Bassett GS (Last week 5): After a slow start to the year following an elbow injury in the off-season, Bassett has worked hard to retun back to form and has made her way to the top of our shooters list. Looking powerful when moving around the circle and strong against the double-team defensive pressure, Bassett was always a strong option under the post and sank 50 of 57 attempts.

2. Gretel Tippett, GA/GS/WA (Last week 2): Shooting at 100 percent accuracy, Tippett was on song during her side's loss to the Giants. In a fiery contest, Tippett stood strong with her teammates preferring to fire the ball into the GA over her towering teammate in Romelda Aiken. Her movement off the ball was impressive, while she constantly worked to find space under the post.

3. Stephanie Wood, GA (Last week 1): In a tough tussle with the Swifts, Wood stood up and gave her side some great options when moving the ball down court and into the circle. Making herself a constant option, Wood forced the defence to take on a one-on-one stance and gave shooting teammate Peace Proscovia plenty of space to move in.

4. Caitlin Thwaites, GS (Last week 3): This week proved how truly difficult World Cup selections will be with every squad shooter stepping up. While Thwaites in no way had a poor game, she perhaps didn't have the same impact as she has in previous rounds. Forced to work hard by the Fever's young defender, Thwaites was just able to salvage the draw.

5. Tegan Phillip, GA (Last week 4): Similar to Thwaites, Phillip didn't have a poor game, but with Wood and Tippett stepping up in Rd4, she was just overshadowed. Her work with Thwaites in the circle continues to look unstoppable, however, they were well and truly put to the test against the Fever.

Midcourt:

1. Jamie-Lee Price, WD/C (Last week 6): Despite a slow start, Price picked up her game as time went on and her defensive work on the circle and midcourt proved pivotal in her side's win. In a round where most midcourt players found it hard to find space, Price was the best of the bunch, especially defensively, while her feeding into Bassett was strong.

2. Kate Maloney, C/WD (Last week 1): While her midcourt partner Liz Watson was clearly frustrated by defensive pressure, Maloney showed plenty of patience with her feeds as she moved the ball around and found the perfect pass into the circle.

3. Gabbi Simpson, WD (Last week 4): She may not have been at full strength in Rd4, but it didn't hamper her game. Taking on one of the competition's best in Kim Green, she was up to the fight and made her presence felt with some impressive tips and an intercept. While she was forced from the court a few times, Simpson was still one of the best midcourters of the round.

4. Liz Watson WA (Last week 2): Forced to work, Watson had little room to move and on several occasions reverted to simply pushing her way through defence, instead of using her footwork. It was clear defensive pressure got to her on several occasions during the match.

5. Kelsey Browne, WA/C (Last week 3): She's been kept quiet for much of 2019 and again in Round 4 didn't make the same mark on the game she'd previously made in 2018. While she most definitely put her body on the line, she struggled to ditch her defender and her feeding could have been better. Luckily for her, teammate Ravaillion has struggled just as much.

6. Kiera Austin, GA/WA (Last week 7): Replacing both Jo Harten and Kim Green during the Giants win over the Firebirds, Austin impressed in both roles, sinking seven from nine, while her work around the circle lifted her side with Green sidelined. Although she still has work to do, she showed she has the ability to step up in the absence of some of her side's best stars.

7. Jess Antsiss, C/WA (Last week 8): With her side previously struggling to make an impact on the competition, Antsiss was pivotal in her team's turn around in Rd4. Sticking to Watson like a second skin, Antsiss gave her little room to move and forced her into several poor passes.

8. Kim Ravaillion, C/WA (Last week 5): Ravaillion has struggled for some time and has not been up to her previous standard of a few years ago. Her feeding was less than impressive, several times putting it way over her shooter, but her defensive work around the circle was strong and impacted the Thunderbirds circle work.

Defence

1. Sarah Klau GK/GD (Last week 2): While forced high in the circle by Lightning's Proscovia early in the game, Klau continued to work hard and put herself in the best position to impact the Lightning's feeds. Her pressure clearly made a strong impact with Proscovia eventually subbed. Pushed into GD for the final quarter, Klau showed she's just as strong outside the circle as she is inside.

2. April Brandley GD (Last week 4): Relatively quiet compared to her fellow defenders in the early rounds, Brandley stepped up in Round 4 against the Thunderbirds and Maria Folau. A hard worker off the ball, Brandley pushed Folau further and further from the post and pulled off some game changing intercepts.

3. Emily Mannix, GD/GK (Last week 1): It wasn't Mannix's night on Saturday when the Vixens drew with the Fever. Starting the game in her usual GK bid, Mannix was moved to GD for much of the game before she was benched in the final quarter. While she produced her usual areial skill, she couldn't completely shut down Jhanielle Fowler or Kaylia Stanton who found easy passage to her shooter.

4. Jo Weston, GD/GK (Last week 3): Weston was put to the test by a firing Stanton and Fowler and struggled to keep the GA quiet as she found easy passage into the circle. Claiming four deflections in the whole game and subbed out for several periods, Weston never truly took a hold of the game.

5. Courtney Bruce, GK/GD (Last week 5): NA - Again unavailable through injury. Should be making her return in Round 5. Who to watch:

Ash Brazill WD: If there's one player who has really thrown her hand up for selection, it's been Brazill. Looking fast and powerful, Brazill gave the Thunderbirds midcourt little space and pulled off some of the best defence of the game.

Paige Hadley WA/C: In career best form, Hadley continues to stand up in her midcourt role with the Swifts and was impressive in her side's loss to the Lightning. Her feeds into the circle were again close to perfect, while she put plenty of pressure on Lightning centre Laura Langman.