Caitlyn Nevins playing for the Queensland Firebirds.
Caitlyn Nevins playing for the Queensland Firebirds. SMP IMAGES

Coach full of praise for Diamonds debutant

NETBALL: She doesn't remember a lot about it but the oldest Australian netballer to debut for the Diamonds in 42 years says it was still a "dream come true".

Injected into the game at wing attack in the final period of Australia's match-up with New Zealand in South Africa on Sunday, 29-year-old Caitlyn Nevins made an immediate impact.

"Nevins was fresh, she came on and created that clear space for us," said coach Lisa Alexander. "Paige (Hadley) had done a mighty job throughout the game but we needed to change it up.

"We've got the depth, we had the confidence and we knew that Nevins had done the work at training.

"For her to go into that situation and just have such a cool, calm head, it was sensational."

Australia took the first match of the Quad Series 57-50 for a winning start to the international netball year.

"It's such a huge honour to be the 171st Australian player. I've wanted to play for the Diamonds since I was a young girl," Queensland Firebirds star Nevins said.

"This group of women is phenomenal and I knew that as soon as I got out there they had my back and they made that transition quite easy for me."

Norma Plummer, who is now coaching South Africa, is the oldest Australian to debut for her country.

Plummer, who led the Diamonds to the 2011 world championship as a coach, was 30 when she debuted for her country back in 1975.

Australia's next match of the series is against South Africa early Wednesday (AEST).