After both teams were allowed to feel their way through Game one, the second test match of the Taini Jamison Trophy series saw the England Roses rise to a 10-goal win after a massive second half which they won 34 goals to the Ferns’ 21.
The difference easily lay in the numbers, the Ferns turned over the ball 16 times in the second half to the Roses’ nine and were able to stay in the game more – coughing up only 16 penalties to the Ferns’ 24.
Looking at the game alone its simple to see that the difference was that English coach Jess Thirlby was able to find a ticking and working attack end while Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua struggled in the second half to find a humming attack end even after the debut of Grace Nweke at Goal Shoot – who no doubt is a star of the future.
The key to the decider is the ability for either team to find consolidation.
For the Roses it will be their ability to back up a stellar second half which cemented the attacking combination of George Fisher and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, a duo that seemed unstoppable in some instances on Wednesday.
For the Ferns the ability to find the most cohesive and fluid line up across the board that can deliver what no one can doubt would be a winning game plan from the Dame herself.
How do the Ferns get their groove back?
The Ferns looked all out of sorts in the second half of the second test with very erratic play and no one through the middle really standing up and taking charge of the pace, something we’re very used to seeing from their current captain Gina Crampton – who was out of the match through injury.
The Silver Ferns under the Dame have revolutionised the term retention in netball with their ability to hold on to ball and to craft multiple phases of play until the perfect option opens up a path to a high percentage goal.
This is what Noeline will be looking for from the 12 players selected for today’s game and no doubt the seven that will start.
The question is whether Dame Noeline will balance winning versus exposure as she looks to utilise Grace Nweke in any capacity.
Regardless of the series result, this would have been a very important experience for young Grace coming up against Geva Mentor- one of the best in the game currently.
In defence there is no doubt that Karin Burger has to be involved for near the entire 60-minutes to ensure the Ferns’ success – currently touted as the best player in the world currently after a stellar domestic season they will be looking for her to turn over ball with her innate ability to come through the contest physically and her speed down court in transition.
The Roses to triumph?
If Jess Thirlby thought for a second that this was not a series worth winning and more to expose some of her Roses athletes then that doubt has completely been wiped after her attack showed a world class performance in the second half on Wednesday night – even missing some of their biggest attacking players who are based in Australia.
The ability for her players to back up this performance, is key for this tournament and the upcoming defence of England’s Commonwealth Games Gold Medal.
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis is going to play an important role here, if they’re to win.
Her ability to find space and cut through the Ferns’ defence has been a stand out and if she can constantly shift the angle of attack and open up Fisher out back they will be hard to stop.
Both teams have shown struggle in centre pass second phase but mostly England, as highlighted in the first test and in major patches of the second.
They’ll be looking for another stellar game from in form defender Layla Guscoth who is enjoying being out on court after being sidelined due to injury.
Her ability to rattle the Silver Ferns’ attack end and intercept ball with great athleticism will be another piece of the puzzle towards a Roses’ success.
Who is Lifting the Taini Jamison Trophy?
After the preparation that both of these sides have had for this series its no surprise if the decider again starts off erratic but as the saying goes the team that settles first will most likely go on to win the game.
For the Roses their ability to maintain and follow on from a stellar second half performance will be key, they will look to their experience heads Guthrie, Clark and Mentor to spearhead this.
In comparison this has been a series of discovery for the Ferns, with their next generation making the step up.
The key today will be the discovery of the line up that will execute the Dame Noeline’s game plan, one which most netball experts would argue would be unbeatable if executed to the letter.
Categories: International Tests