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24 Feb 2018 13:19
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Netball

    Combinations still need work: Ferns boss

    Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby admits the combinations between her side's three thirds need urgent sharpening ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

    Silver Ferns boss Janine Southby says there won't be any pre-Commonwealth Games tinkering with her side's netballing style - at least until they can first show they've nailed the basics.

    With Southby's 12-strong squad named on Thursday, the Ferns will undertake four weeks' worth of training camps over the next two months.

    Those camps will be followed by an impromptu four-way Taini Jamison Trophy with Jamaica, Malawi and Fiji, for which the Kiwis will be heavy favourites.

    The tougher challenges - against England and top-ranked Australia, who beat the Ferns by 19 points last month - will then follow in April on the Gold Coast.

    Southby said she was open to new ideas but wouldn't seek to implement them until her side could build iron-strong combinations in each third.

    The connection between the Ferns' midcourt and shooting circle broke down again and again in their last-up 67-48 Quad Series loss to Australia.

    They had earlier fallen to the Roses and defeated South Africa.

    "First and foremost, it's getting those connections strong and the trust out there on court, under pressure, so that they can let the ball go and confidently let it go - we've got work to do there," Southby told reporters.

    "There were patches of play in all of the games, and particularly the South African game, where we showed what we were really capable of - and then, to let ourselves down against Australia like that, it was hugely disappointing.

    "When you look back at the footage, it's really dumb stuff."

    Despite the inclusion of defensive young gun Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and the returning Ameliaranne Ekenasio in their 12-strong squad, the Ferns are unlikely to change much of their starting XII for April's Games.

    Tall timber Kelly Jury and Temalisi Fakahokotau will fight it out for a spot next to Katrina Grant in the Kiwi backline, while one of Grace Kara and Sam Sinclair will join Shannon Francois and Kayla Cullen in midcourt.

    Star player Maria Folau - off-colour in the Quad Series - will play up top alongside either Bailey Mes, Ekenasio or Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

    Southby said she was happy with her group, and backed them to fix their errors and secure a third Commonwealth gold medal in four attempts.

    "It means a hell of a lot for them to be here and you can tell when you ring them, the excitement and relief and emotions come through," Southby said.

    "It's just about making sure that we're building the group to be a really tight group that trusts each other."


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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