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Jamaica spoil Silver Ferns final aspirations – “they were better than us”

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Silver Ferns’ coach Dame Noeline Taurua says her side simply weren’t good enough against a red hot Jamaica, who could go all the way in Birmingham.

The Silver Ferns will be playing for bronze after Jamaica thrashed them 67-51 at the Commonwealth Games last night.

Shooter Grace Nweke.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

After a strong start, Jamaica never let New Zealand back in the game.

Jamaica came out firing and punished basic mistakes from the Silver Ferns to lead 18-9 after the first quarter.

New Zealand’s first attempt at goal was missed, and then an offside handed possession to Jamaica in the opening minutes.

Dame Noeline Taurua said poor starts had been a recurring theme.

“And we talk about it forever but it’s something that’s still alluding us. Those two things actually equated to four goals and all of a sudden we’re on the back foot.

“Those are the things that we’re not quite sticking and we’re not learning, hence having a start like that so we’ve just got to keep chipping away and tomorrow is a bronze medal match on the line,” Dame Noeline said.

Rather than starting the game with Grace Nweke at goal shoot, Maia Wilson got the nod with Te Paea Selby-Rickit at goal attack, who took a lot of the shooting load.

New Zealand Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua.

Silver Ferns’ coach Dame Noeline Taurua.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Dame Noeline said she wanted more of a rotating circle.

“The Caribbean way is definitely aerial so we can be like a lamb to a slaughter or we can look at a different way of presenting ourselves.

“I thought at times it was really good but also at times we got caught as well and didn’t have a clear option on the back.”

It was a shooting line up was the line-up that the defensive specialist coach for Jamaica, Rob Wright, had anticipated.

“I thought that they do like to body up and I think they would try and go ‘right if we can get on the body and try and limit our athleticism’.

“I thought that that would be their plan so we’d planned for that and clearly we put in some ideas around how we would cope with that and what we’d do when we saw that,” Wright said.

An experienced Australian coach, Wright is also the assistant coach at the Northern Mystics in New Zealand.

“Our aim was to try and suffocate their front end in the goal third, which I thought we did probably for at least a half today.”

Dame Noeline started Sulu Fitzpatrick at goal keep, ahead of Kelly Jury.

“Once the ball gets into Fowler or close to you might as well shut up shop …It was looking at how we could maybe attack the ball on the outside and use the connection between Sulu and Pheonix [Karaka] as well,” Dame Noeline said.

“At times it worked but at times it didn’t and with Kelly coming on the way she did I thought she introduced herself well.”

Ferns Gina Crampton.

Gina Crampton
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Silver Ferns rung the changes at half time when Jamaica led 36-22.

That included bringing Grace Nweke on at goal shoot and Shannon Saunders on for captain Gina Crampton at wing attack.

Nweke finished with 24 goals at 100 percent from her 30 minutes.

The Silver Ferns finished with 93 percent accuracy overall but just couldn’t get enough volume and got isolated from each other for large parts of the game.

For Jamaica – prolific shooter Jhaniele Fowler was well supported by goal attack Shanice Beckford.

Crampton said missing out on the gold medal match hurt.

“I feel like everything we had done was right, all the progress that we’ve made over the past couple of weeks to get us to this point, we’d done all the work and not showing what we’re capable of is really disappointing.

“And I feel disappointed for Noels [Noeline] as well, she puts so much into it and I think it’s probably quite tough to take for her,” Crampton said.

She also lamented the poor start.

“We had some silly errors, offensive contacts, missed shots, throwing away the ball on attack. Jamaica are hard to get ball off anyway so we can’t be putting ourselves that many goals down at the start, it’s just too hard,” Crampton said.

The New Zealand captain said Jamaica were amazing.

“Good on them as much as it hurts, happy for them and I hope that they take it.”

Dame Noeline said it was the best Jamaican side she’d ever seen – “They were better than us.”

Six of the 12 Jamaican players now play in Australia’s professional netball league.

“With all these players playing over there, there’s definitely a level of discipline and a better level of physical capability.”

Experienced netball coach Rob Wright.

Experienced netball coach Rob Wright.
Photo: Supplied by Simon Leonard, Netball Scoop

Dame Noeline said they would have to regroup quickly.

“We just weren’t good enough and it showed probably the gulf in individuals, the gulf in our fight and our competitive side.

“We’ve just got to lick our wounds and get ready for the bronze medal match.”

Jamaica finished with an incredible 100 percent shooting accuracy and will contest for the gold medal for the first time at a pinnacle event.

They will play the winner of the other semi-final between England and Australia, and New Zealand will meet the loser.

Wright has only been with the Jamaican side for a few months.

The Sunshine girls made history by beating Australia in their final pool match.

They lead the competition in intercepts, with Shamera Sterling in stunning form at goal keep.

Wright said he was impressed with the players in his side, who weren’t playing in professional leagues.

“We’ve got three players who don’t play in any professional league out in our starting seven so for them to be doing the job has been phenomenal.”

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