It was a valuable insight into the latest moves and combinations being tested by the New Zealand Silver Ferns ahead of Australia’s duel with the world champions this Wednesday night at Vector Arena.
The Silver Ferns may have dominated the clash against Jamaica, but Australian captain, Liz Ellis said it was a great chance to watch their new defensive line and midcourters in action.
“It was interesting to see their new combinations and have a good look at Laura (Langman) in the midcourt and to see Casey Williams and Joline Henry as their new backline,” Ellis said.
“They have plenty of experience in that midcourt, they just need time together, so our match will give them that in a pressure situation.”
Ellis kept a close eye on her arch-rival, the Silver Ferns goal-scoring machine, Irene van Dyk who has added more movement to her circle play and lifted her percentage since being criticised for her performances in their UK tour in May.
“Irene, in particular, is back to her old self and when she’s playing like that she’s pretty dangerous,” Ellis observed.
“We’ve had lots of experience against the Ferns when they’ve felt really confident and moving the ball well, so we want to play them when they are at their peak as they are going to be pretty good come November (world championships).
“Playing them now when they are really confident is very important for us. The big test will come when we play each other on Wednesday night and it will be a good indication of where we are at.”
The New Zealand media were quick to ask Ellis whether she thought Australia now had the wood on the Silver Ferns, given they have accounted for the world champions four times out of their last five meetings.
But the experienced defender was just as quick to put those victories in perspective.
“I never feel like we have the wood on the Silver Ferns – they are the No. 1 team in the world and we know that every time we play them we have to be at our very best to compete with them and hopefully maintain level pegging with them,” Ellis said.
“The last few games have been really close so to have the wood on them we would have to be winning by 10-15 goals each match.
“We know we are going to have a really big fight on our hands on Wednesday night.”
Australia takes on New Zealand at the 9,000 seat Vector Arena in Auckland this Wednesday night from 7.30pm (5.30pm AEST).
Catch the replay of the match on: ABC TV - 18 July from 11.35pm-01.05am – Replay
ABC2 – 20 July from 8.00pm-9.30pm – Replay
ABC TV – 21 July in Netball Show - Highlights
ABC TV - 18 July from 11.35pm-01.05am – Replay
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