Monday, March 13, 2006

Australia netball, netball australia ready for fiery Ferns

Australia ready for fiery Ferns

The Netball court is set for a series of physical battles, with a fired-up New Zealand team aiming for a replay of the 2002 Final – a victory to Australia in sudden death extra-time.

Australian captain, Sharelle McMahon, is leading an inexperienced team which includes only four members of the gold medal-winning side from the Manchester Games.

She says the Australians won’t resort to playing rough, but instead will rely on their quick hand movements and tactical preparations.

“We just want to concentrate on what we are doing, we know that when we are playing at our best we can’t be stopped, we have got very quick ball movement and great ball skills,” McMahon said.

Australian wing defender Selina Gilsenan says the team won’t be intimidated by a physical New Zealand side.

“We definitely want to be strong. We don’t want to be pushed around on the court but we are not going into the Games thinking we need to have to beat them back up as much as they beat us,” Gilsenan declared.

“We will use our skill and try to work it around a bit more, rather than use brute force.”

The New Zealand team - the Silver Ferns - face South Africa, England, Fiji, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Malawi in Pool A.

Australia’s strongest challenge may come from 2002 semi-finalists Jamaica, in a Pool which also includes Samoa, Barbados, Wales and Singapore.

In final preparations, the Australian team is resting goal shooter Catherine Cox, but the full line-up is expected to be in place for their opening match, against Wales at the State Netball and Hockey Centre, 17 March.

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