Tash Lewis and Rob Wright
Collingwood Magpies netball’s official 2019 Netball World Cup (NWC) correspondent, A.K.A the Magpies’ head coach, Rob Wright, will keep us up to date with all the very latest coming out of Liverpool.
Day 9 – Saturday 20 July
Weather update – Luckily, we’re going home on Monday because it’s really starting to heat up – Monday 25 and Tuesday 28. You can almost hear the skin crackling from the heat. Think it’s about time to head back to Melbourne. I can’t believe I’ve only had one day of some rain, at least I got the one.
AUS v SA
Predicted Australia to defeat South Africa, margin 10-13.
OUTCOME: Australia (55) v South Africa (53)
- Australian game much closer than anticipated – was expecting a 10-goal margin but we only got the two.
- Lisa Alexander threw a curve ball with today’s line-up – not a of people were expecting this starting seven. It wasn’t the line-up I thought they’d go with today. I’m sure South Africa also wasn’t expecting it.
- My reasoning to what I think was behind Australia’s starting seven was to attempt to keep the players as fresh as possible for tomorrow. Try give them a little bit of a rest where possible without compromising the result. There were a number of players that didn’t play much today and we’d expect to see them tomorrow but who knows what the line-up will be, we’ll have to wait and see.
- Although it was an unexpected line-up, within the first two quarters this line-up got out to an eight-point lead. At half-time it was looking quite comfortable.
- The big factor was the Norma Plummer (SA head coach) effect – she’s had this group for the last four years and she’s built them into a formidable outfit. She’s stepping down after this year, so it’s going to be a massive loss. I think she’s a genius and I told her that after the game. Norma was impressive and almost orchestrated the biggest upset in netball history.
- To me, South Africa were a bit costly with the ball today. I believe they could have come away with the win but they threw some ball away at some inopportune moments.
- South Africa’s mid-court struggled and ultimately a couple of goals became the difference.
- Caitlin Thwaites produced under pressure – her shooting was impeccable and I thought she stood up really well all day. Gretel Tippett also shot at 100 per cent – impressive to see the quality of the Australian shooting. They performed strong for the whole 60 minutes and got the job done for them. Caitlin shot 30 from 30 and Gretel shot 23 from 23.
- The shooting from both teams was outstanding – England missed four shots and Australia missed one. England actually had one more shot than Australia for the game. Lenize Potgieter shot 39 from 41, she was exceptional.
- Another positive out of today for Australia was the improvement in their penalty count – it was down 15 from their last run. I think they will need to improve this once again tomorrow because historically NZ has been less penalised than Australia because of the nature of game they play. Australia will have to be super disciplined otherwise they’ll will give NZ a lot of free ball.
- I believe the match greatly reflected how far South Africa has come in the tournament. They underperformed in their round game against England, they looked a bit overhaled, whereas today I thought they came out and were very impressive.
- Potgieter for South Africa was dominant and did a terrific job.
ENG V NZ
Predicted New Zealand to defeat England, margin 3-5.
OUTCOME: England (45) v New Zealand (47)
- I think I’ve redeemed myself with my prediction of the England v New Zealand game. I know I was saying a margin of 3-5 but as of late I’ve been saying three – close enough.
- All week I thought England were okay but NZ I thought were building all tournament. Noeline Taurua had them primed and heading in the right direction so no great surprise today that they got the job done.
- Both NZ’s goalers were really good but Ameliaranne Ekenasio just shot the lights out today, she was super impressive and kept shooting under real pressure. To me, what will be the real challenge will be if they can back it up tomorrow.
- NZ have been really impressive this whole tournament. There was a bit of criticism when the Silver Ferns team was picked as they chose shooters that weren’t shooting high percentages. They have stood up immensely across this tournament and today was no exception with their shooting percentage at 90.4 per cent as a team.
- A real feature of NZ’s play all week has been their through court defence – it was on song today and really caused havoc with England’s attack. In saying that, England probably didn’t play in the hands of the NZ defence and I thought they didn’t play smart in attack today – lots of lifted ball, lots of cross-diagonal passes that just played into NZ’s hands. If England had their time again, I think they would try and play their attack quite differently to what they did today because it cost them dearly.
- Watching the game live I felt the mid-court for England was getting absolutely blown off the court and it certainly was the case – Serena Guthrie and Jade Clarke between them had 37 penalties. Guthrie was easily the highest penalised player on court as a centre – all week I’ve felt she’s been a little bit off the pace and certainly today I thought she had far too many contacts and was late on the contest.
- I felt like England’s entire back four, including (unfortunately) Geva, had minimal impact on the Kiwi’s front end. I think they’ll be devastated with their performance.
- I think England thought this was their time. It was an absolute pro-England crowd today – atmosphere was phenomenal and they were left distraught.
- I think the performance England put out today was sub-par. Four years is a long wait to redeem yourself and this game they let it slip. They were playing chase from the start as they got off to a slow start.
- Again, I think the Layla Guscoth injury has come back to haunt England. It meant that for most of the tournament they only had 11 players which meant the load on everyone else was a little bit more. In my opinion, Guscoth was either their no. 1 GD or WD – they lost a starter.
- Maria Folau got player of the match – I think there were a number of players across the Silver Fern’s squad that could have taken the honours. Even though there were only two goals in it, I don’t believe there was an England player that won the contest. There was probably a couple of players that came out even with their Kiwi opponent but not one won their position.
Prediction for the gold medal game
- Even though England loss to NZ, I’m expecting the England fans will get behind the Kiwis. I would expect people to see NZ as the underdog and everyone loves seeing the underdog win. In Australia’s game today all the English fans were going for South Africa – it was a pro-South African crowd.
- Score wise: Australia to defeat New Zealand, margin 5-6.
England to defeat South Africa, margin 7-10.
PS. Shout out to the four massive England fans I came across today; Lisa, Jannah, Kiran and Claire. They didn’t believe I was the head coach of Collingwood – they thought I was some crazy lunatic (which I possibly am but I also coach). Much to their dislike I told them they were going to lose today against New Zealand by three – they thought I was mad.