Kiwis ready to fight

Kiwis ready to fight

By |2018-04-04T08:15:30+10:00April 4th, 2018|Categories: Commonwealth Games 2018, NZ|4 Comments

New Zealand

World Ranking: 2nd
Previous Commonwealth Games results: 1998 (Silver), 2002 (Silver), 2006 (Gold), 2010 (Gold), 2014 (Silver)
Commonwealth Games win/loss record: 31 wins, 3 losses

 

New Zealand’s chances of success at the Commonwealth Games are hard to predict.

The Silver Ferns of 2014 were written off before the Glasgow games. They entered that campaign under a cloud of injuries, poor form and uncertainty in selections. Expectations were low, but those who underestimated them were misguided.

Resilience, determination and the leadership of a fearless captain and vice-captain (Casey Kopua and Laura Langman) led them through to the gold medal match, against all odds. They were thrashed by a superior Australian side, but the foundations appeared to have been laid for a new era of success after Irene van Dyk’s retirement.

The current Silver Ferns are in a similar predicament on the eve of the 2018 Games. They again enter the tournament carrying injuries, poor form and uncertainty in selections. However, unlike 2014, they lack top-class leadership throughout the court.

Their recent form in the international arena is dire, having lost 8 of their last 11 matches. The progress that was made in 2015-16 seems to have withered away. A host of shooters have been used over the past four years, but none of the combinations have gelled for a substantial period. No one has come close to filling the gaping hole in the midcourt left by the baffling non-selection of Langman. The defence end hasn’t been able to replace the legendary Kopua, Leana de Bruin or Anna Harrison.

The 2018 Silver Ferns project the impression of inexperience, but this lies more in the combinations than in the individuals. The team has an average of 41 caps, and five players with more than 50 caps. By comparison, Australia have an average of 36 caps, and five players with more than 50 caps.

There has been a revolving door of selections since Janine Southby took over as coach. Twenty eight players have come in and out of the Silver Ferns team since 2015. Only three of those team members have played in every test match since 2015.

Champion Maria Folau has a precarious knee injury, but she has been a game-changer for her entire career and has the ability to drag her team over the line. Individually, the team is talented all over the court, but their challenge is to play collectively well as a team.

In the last year they have lost to Australia by increasing margins, England and Jamaica. South Africa came within a few goals. They face England and Malawi in Pool B round matches. If they finish top two after the rounds, they will likely face Australia or Jamaica in the semi-finals.

Missing out on a medal is a real possibility, but underestimate them at your own risk.

Their final placing may be unpredictable; but the Silver Ferns are always proud, always dangerous.

 

Commonwealth Games team
Ameliaranne Ekenasio  GA/GS  16 caps
Bailey Mes  GS/GA  57 caps
Claire Kersten  WD/C  3 caps
Grace Kara  WA/C  56 caps
Katrina Grant (c)  GD/GK  111 caps
Kelly Jury  GK  18 caps
Maria Folau  GA/GS  121 caps
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson  WD/GD  3 caps
Samantha Sinclair  WD/C  19 caps
Shannon Francois  C/WA  52 caps
Te Paea Selby-Rickit  GS/GA  24 caps
Temalisi Fakahokotau  GK/GD  15 caps
Coach: Janine Southby
Assistant coach: Yvette McCausland-Durie

Last five international results
New Zealand lost to Jamaica 53-59 (2018)
New Zealand beat Fiji 88-27 (2018)
New Zealand lost to Jamaica 51-59 (2018)
New Zealand beat Malawi 75-42 (2018)
New Zealand lost to Australia 48-67 (2018)

About the Author:

Elite netballer trapped in the body of a very average one.

4 Comments

  1. Andrew Kennedy April 4, 2018 at 10:29 am

    ” Twenty eight players have come in and out of the Silver Ferns team since 2015. Only three of those team members have played in every test match since 2015.”

    That is an AMAZING stat which goes a long way to showing coaching and strategy dramas. Hard as a player to feel secure in your spot, to make solid connections, and be aware of the setup, tactics, contingencies, if everything always changes.

    Who are those three reliable players? Mes, Francois, and Grant?

  2. TACTIXSUPPORTER April 5, 2018 at 4:58 am

    28 players?!
    Surely not

  3. Raz99 April 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Great article, I don’t think you can ever underestimate NZ at an international tournament.
    28 players does seem like a bit of a stretch though. I’ve listed 25 between 2015-2018. Correct me if I’ve forgotten anyone.
    Mes, Paseka, Wilson, Selby-Rickit, Brown, Tutaia, Ekenasio (7)
    Kara, Crampton, Souness, Francois, Langman, Sinclair, Kersten, Cullen (8)
    Grant, Sokolich-B, Purvis, Kopua, de Bruin, Karaka, Harrison, Faka, Watson. Jury (10).
    25 total, so is still a lot of players, particularly defensively.

  4. Raz99 April 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Ironically, the Diamonds have also used 25 players since 2015, but have still always seemed to have a much more settled line up at any given time over the last three years.

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