IT is no wonder Natalie Haythornthwaite takes up the wing attack, or goal attack, role because she is ready to tackle the Australians on home soil head on.

England are chasing a first win over the Commonwealth Games host nation since 2013.

But Haythornthwaite says they only way to keep tabs on the world number one team is to keep playing them.

“The more chances you get to play against number one in the world the better you are going to be for the experience,” although she knows that to get to that stage, England netball first have to get through their group.

Ranked third in the world, behind second placed New Zealand, England will be expected to achieve a podium place.

But Barrowford’s Haythornthwaite is taking nothing for granted.

“We’re going against the world number one on home soil,” said the 25-year-old, who plays club netball for Wasps in the Superleague.

“It’s going to be tough, it’s a huge world competition so everyone is going in for that qualification position.

“It will be a huge challenge and a huge ask but we’ve trained so hard for it.”

With netball not yet an Olympic sport, Haythornthwaite describes the Commonwealth Game as “the pinnacle” for the game in its involvement in a multi-sport global event.

“This is our next biggest competition,” said the former pupil of Fisher More High School, Colne, who as well as competing is particularly excited about being part of the Games’ village.

“The Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle really, you get that world stage performances and environment and you’re also around all the other sports.

“Talking to some of the girls who have been to other Commonwealth Games they say we aren’t just England netball, we’re part of Team England. We feel like part of an extended family.”

Haythornthwaite counts herself fortunate that she will have support from immediate family too.

“I’m really lucky because my mum is flying out and my boyfriend. I’m really excited. I’m very lucky they are able to make that journey,” she said.

“It sounds like a lot of family from England are coming out.

“There are going to be so many supporters out here it will feel like everyone is backing us.

“My dad and my sisters back home will be watching on television, listening on the radio and reading about it and cheering us on.

“It’s nice to know we’ve got that support back home too. It will keep pushing is forward.”