Preliminary Round, Day 2, Pool B, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
GS Chelsea Lewis
GA Caralea Moseley
WA Bethan Dyke
C Kyra Jones
WD Suzy Drane
GD Nia Jones
GK Kelly Morgan
GS Ameliaranne Elenasio
GA Maria Folau
WA Shannon Francois
C Samantha Sinclair
WD Claire Kersten
GD Katrina Grant
GK Temalisi Fakahototau
Wales won a quarter, but not the match, against an inconsistent New Zealand. The Silver Ferns showed their class in patches, eventually winning by 26 goals – their lowest ever winning margin over Wales.
New Zealand started the game strongly, showing patience with well-timed passes rather than the frenetic ball movement seen in the first game against Uganda.
Coach Janine Southby admitted the team had been nervous on day one, but the start to their second match was cool and calm. Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio shot from long-range with ease, scoring 23 goals for the first quarter.
However, the starting line-up lost their way in the second quarter, converting only nine goals. Wales won the second quarter by four and drew within one goal of the Kiwis, before letting in a couple of late goals.
Wales chipped away at the lead with sharp work from midcourters Kyra Jones and Bethan Dyke who fed spearhead Chelsea Lewis. A better defensive effort put pressure on Folau and Ekenasio, and their first-quarter accuracy deserted them. Southby identified the issue as a lack of concentration.
“That’s us not paying attention and focusing on what we need to focus on, and not keeping in that present moment where you’ve got a job to do and you’ve got to keep doing it. The first quarter they went out and they were strong and accurate, the second quarter we went off the boil and that’s not good enough,” said Southby.
Wales were buoyed heading into the second half and held an intense team discussion before taking the court. Southby made changes in every position, leaving only Sam Sinclair and Shannon Francois on. She put her faith in 2017 World Youth Cup circle defenders Kelly Jury and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, and the changes had immediate impact.
Jury’s reach troubled Wales. Replacement shooters Bailey Mes and Ta Paea Selby-Rickit split the Welsh defence and scored 12 out of the first 13 goals of the third quarter, taking control of the game.
It was Welsh coach Julie Hoornweg’s turn to ring the changes, the entire team taking the court at some stage during the second half. Wales struggled to connect, but Hoornweg was pleased the group she has only known for a month. It has been a turbulent preparation for the group – failing to qualify for the 2019 World Cup and losing their previous coach in the process.
“They’ve had a bad trot, so they’ve kind of lost their confidence. So instilling that and giving them a belief in what they’re doing, and a game plan that allows them to rejoice in their own wonderful strengths (is my goal),” said Hoornweg.
Wales face another tough test against England in their next match, while New Zealand will welcome a rest day before facing Malawi on Sunday.
New Zealand 70 def Wales 44
Maria Folau 19/23 83%
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 13/17 76%
Bailey Mes 10/14 71%
Ta Paea Selby-Rickit 28/31 90%
New Zealand 70/85 82%
Chelsea Lewis 21/31 68%
Caralea Moseley 21/30 70%
Georgia Rowe 1/2 50%
Sarah Llewelyn 1/1 100%
Wales 44/64 69%
Julie Hoornweg, Wales Coach
The match itself
“That’s the smallest losing margin for Wales against New Zealand, so I guess that’s a pat on the back. Our second quarter was so good, we need to reproduce that. One good quarter doesn’t win a game, and we know we can play better. We were at one stage down by one, we had the ball, and wasted it. We have been working on critical moments, but we don’t always play under that speed and pressure. It just breaks down every now and then. When we stick to what we know we do well, it works for us, and we play very well.”
What has been her main focus with Wales since she took over coaching
“Their belief that they’re able to compete against some of the best in the world. They’ve had a bad trot, so they’ve kind of lost their confidence. So just instilling that and giving them a belief in what they’re doing, and a game plan that allows them to rejoice in their own wonderful strengths.”
“It’s only been a month since I firstly went out to Wales. They’re a fantastic group of athletes, they’re open-minded, ready to take on anything they’re told. We just worked on their strengths, which is to bring the ball through court. Before, they were a bit hesitant about that. Giving them more responsibility to talk to each other and find out what’s not working rather than just listening to me all the time. Just belief, I suppose.”
On the umpiring
“We look at the clips and we know what’s going to happen, and if the umpire doesn’t blow the whistle we have to get on with it. The umpire’s in charge of the game, not us. At times I thought we were fairly harshly dealt with, but that’s the way the game goes. I thought our kids responded well to it and just got on with the game.”
On Chelsea Lewis’ return to the team
“She’s the focal point for us, and she is really enjoying her netball again which is fantastic, and you can see it out on court. Although she lost her momentum today, so she’ll look at that and we’ll work on that. She’s loving turning and shooting, she does it beautifully so why wouldn’t you allow her to do it, so she’s just been an absolute star for us.”
Janine Southby, New Zealand Coach
The poor second quarter
“That’s us not paying attention and focusing on what we need to focus on, and not keeping in that present moment where you’ve got a job to do and you’ve got to keep doing it. The first quarter they went out and they were strong and accurate, the second quarter we went off the boil and that’s not good enough.”
“There were definitely first-game nerves last night. Today it’s been a quick turnaround, so they were very aware of what they needed to do. I thought they did a good job in the first quarter in attack, the defence toiled away and in the second quarter we just didn’t do our basics really well. We were let down by our accuracy in our shooting dropped off, not taking our feet to ball and silly things like that.”
Their progress so far
“Apart from the second quarter we’re reasonably pleased with where we’re progressing, some things that we’ve been working on were happening, it’s just getting that consistency across the whole match.”
Temalisi Fakahokotau, New Zealand
“A win is a win, it’s great for us no matter what. To get the best focus for each game, it’s just about knowing my processes, and doing them very well.”
Match coming up against Malawi
“I have played against Mwai Kumwenda (Malawi shooter) in New Zealand. You just don’t know what to expect, she does one thing and then changes it up. She’s a damn good player!”