Silver Ferns convincing winners over Singapore
The Silver Ferns comfortably completed the first stage of their Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 campaign with a convincing 89-21 win over Singapore in Liverpool on Sunday.
As in the previous two Preliminary Stage One matches, which produced healthy wins over Malawi and Barbados, Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua continued to make multiple changes against Singapore while exploring options, tactics and managing workloads ahead of more challenging times.
Strapping defender and newest Silver Fern Karin Burger, produced a strong and relentless outing when playing across wing and goal defence during the game to earn the player of the match award.
“We came out with a few things we wanted to sharpen our swords with and just making sure we played a certain style of the different variations that we can do,” she said.
“We had a really god lead-up into the World Cup, strengthening some of the combinations and as you can see from today’s match, we’ve got quite a few variations. Depending on who we play against, we can put out the perfect team for that, so we’re feeling pretty confident with our performances so far.”
Goalkeeper Jane Watson was handed her third straight start where she was joined by Burger as the in-circle defensive duo with Katrina Rore getting another opportunity at wing defence and Te Paea Selby-Rickit starting at goal attack.
Meeting for the first time since 1985, it was the Silver Ferns who were off with a hiss and roar, racing out to a 9-0 lead after the opening five minutes. On-song from the outset, Maria Folau and Selby-Rickit kept the scoreboard ticking over after being handed plenty of opportunities.
Missing just one goal between them, the pair helped the Silver Ferns hit the first break well in control when leading 20-5.
Not unexpectedly, changes were introduced on the resumption. Bailey Mes came on at goal shoot with Folau getting a spell at goal attack, Shannon Saunders took over at centre from captain Laura Langman and Phoenix Karaka jumped into the goalkeeper role.
Showing a preference for the long pass into the circle failed to gain maximum benefit for Singapore where they lost a lot of possession to the Silver Ferns dominant defence line.
Singapore, coached by New Zealand’s Natalie Milicich, could not match the Silver Ferns added height advantage across all areas the court, Burger and Karaka having a strong quarter with two intercepts apiece, Karaka finishing with a game-high six.
With Mes and Folau continuing to rattle in the goals, the Silver Ferns marched on, Singapore, when they did get the ball in shooting range, struggling with their conversion rate.
Restricting their opponents to just three goals, it was the Silver Ferns who hit the main break with a convincing 43-8 lead.
The Silver Ferns made five personnel or positional changes for the third quarter with Casey Kopua taking over at goalkeeper, Karaka moving to goal defence, Mes having a second straight stint at wing attack, Ameliaranne Ekenasio coming on at goal attack and Selby-Rickit moving back to goal shoot.
The reshuffle did not detract from the Silver Ferns even spread of scoring across the previous two quarters of the match, the women in black maintaining their intent with all shooters hitting high strike rates when heading to the last break with a 63-14 advantage.
Playing three-quarters of the match, Selby-Rickit had a strong outing under the hoop, converting 36 goals from 38 attempts for a 95 percent success rate while the overall team delivered an encouraging overall success rate of 91 percent.
The Silver Ferns next opponents, which involves pool crossover matches, will be confirmed at the conclusion of the final results from the Preliminary Stage One matches which will be completed on Monday (NZ time).