By Fayth Doherty and Zac Attwood
After a messy start to the game on Monday, both the Silver Ferns and the England Roses will look to settle into the rhythm of the game quickly tonight.
The messy game was reflected in the general play turnover count from the teams sitting at 25 for the Ferns and 29 for the Roses.
While not unexpected due to the preparations prior in the uncertain world of COVID-19, coaches will be looking for a marked improvement ahead of game two.
Communication and connections are ever-important elements of the game and this will be the key to fixing the messy game and high turnover rate.
With experience on the side of England, they will need to capitalise on their existing combinations in order to expose the weaknesses in the Silver Ferns very youthful and inexperienced squad.
With Gina Crampton out with a hip adductor strain, the Ferns will be looking for someone to step up and take on her high workload in centre pass receives, feeds and goal assists, all statistics in which she led for the Kiwis on Monday night.
In order for the Ferns to win the series with a game to spare, someone will need to step up to fill the void in the team that the captain leaves while sitting on the side tonight.
What does England need to do to win?
In order for England to come out of game two as the winner, the side will need to find a way to break through the tough Ferns defence on the centre pass and increase the ball speed into their shooting circle.
If they are able to do this, it will keep in-form defender Karin Burger busy and in chase mode, allowing for them to get the ball into the circle without the New Zealand defenders flying at every ball.
Giving the Ferns less time to set up their lethal zonal style of defence will allow more space inside the circle for the young England shooting circle.
If successful in shutting down the Silver Fern defenders, England will have a high chance of finishing the game as winners.
In order for the Roses to get the win over the Silver Ferns, they will need to reduce the penalty count to keep the pressure on the young Silver Ferns shooting circle.
The high penalty count in the England defensive end allowed the Ferns shooters to take goals with little to no external pressure on them, in order to snatch the win from the Ferns, the Roses need to stay in play and keep the pressure on the Ferns.
Big changes for the Ferns
With three changes to the Silver Ferns lineup, we can expect to see a few changes to how they operate in tonight’s game.
New captain, Gina Crampton will be a big loss for the Ferns tonight after her big performance on Monday night, playing a vital role in their narrow 48-42 victory.
This will give Sulu Fitzpatrick the opportunity to captain the ferns in only her 12th international test. Sulu will have to make a big step up in tonight’s game from her second-half impact on the bench that saw her achieve only the two gains.
We would expect her to start the game at GK behind Karin Burger who is coming off an impressive ANZ season achieving a staggering six MVP match performances.
Big changes coming into tonight’s game are Peta Toeava and possible debutants Kate Heffernan and Grace Nweke.
Grace will provide a different style of play compared to Noeline Taura’s traditional moving circle for the ferns.
Her mega 1.93m stature and strong holding ability have been torturing defenders in the ANZ premiership scoring 852 goals at a 90 per cent success rate.
It will be very interesting to see how well she can make the step up to the international level after Tiana’s MVP performance in her debut in game one.
With Peta Toeava named in the starting lineup, she will potentially have her partner in crime out on the court with her which will certainly give them both a big confidence booster to make the most of the opportunity.
Dame Noeline didn’t make any changes to her shooting end in game one so it will be interesting to see out of the four who she gives the opportunity to and whether she makes some more changes throughout the game.
Monday night wrap up
On Monday night, both shooting circles were on song.
For the Roses, both combinations that they put out worked well and kept the in-form Kiwi defenders busy. In the defensive end, Layla Guscoth was hungry to win ball for her team, flying at anything she could get her hands to.
Unfortunately, this came at a cost for the Roses, with them collecting a whopping 66 penalties – with 15 of these each coming from Geva Mentor and Layla Guscoth.
In comparison to England, the Silver Ferns only had 34 penalties across the team in the Monday night clash.
In test one, the Silver Ferns unleashed a new star in Tiana Metuarau, who will be looking to back up after her MVP performance in her debut. In the first quarter, the communication between Tiana Metuarau and Maia Wilson was lacking but in the second quarter, they had fixed this and were able to work well as a combination.
Categories: International Tests