Agree with Tamsin! DNT is such a tactical master, i have faith in her selections, although, i really wanted to see Heffernan get a run with Saunders at WA, even if it was only the last 5 minutes of the game, just to get the first game jitters out of the way, and to see how she can connect with the ferns shooters and muscle up against Jade Clarke who was so influential. Kate’s height would be quite hard for the shorter middies to play against but obviously she is not at international level yet, so she needs time to develop. May be DNT is thinking she will be a player for the next 4 year cycle as the ferns are currently spoilt for choice in the midcourt.
Also, i’m glad Peta and Grace played, albeit, a forgettable performance this time. But they will only get better from here.
These international series are about player development. You might think it’s better to seal the deal by winning the first two games, then using the third game to blood the newbies and experiment with combos, but a dead rubber third game also allows England to do the same and experiment against the kiwis. But now that the series is still in contention, Thirlby is less likely to make many changes or experiment with new combinations, limiting their opportunities for developing their squad. DNT is very clever!!
My prediction for Friday’s starting seven assuming Crampton is still out:
If Crampton is back, probably Gordon will go to the bench with Saunders and Winders pushed back one position, and Jury might play in place of Fitzpatrick as they’ll have their Captain back. I think Sulu wasn’t very effective against Fisher but they’ll need her on-court leadership if Gina is still out.