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Silver Ferns open tour in style

Silver Ferns open tour in style

New Zealand Netball fans are in for a treat with the two The Silver Ferns have shaken off any effects of jetlag with a commanding performance over the Scottish Thistles in the first of two exhibition matches in Glasgow.

The two games are being used by the Ferns to familiarise themselves with the venues and city ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Games and they showed they had settled in well as they dominated play from the opening whistles, eventually beating Scotland 72-18.

Coach Waimarama Taumaunu used the game to get 14 of her 16-strong touring party on court with Casey Kopua and Bailey Mes the only two players not considered for play due to their injury recovery.

New squad member Phoenix Karaka also got her first taste of match play at Ferns level after being brought off the bench at half time into the defensive circle.

The young goal keeper, who replaced Kopua in the squad of 12, slotted in well and got her hand to plenty of possession early in the third quarter.

By then, the Ferns were well in command on the scoreboard having led 18-5 at quarter time and 35-7 at the main break.

Scotland, coached by Kiwi Gail Parata, struggled early on with the pace set by the Ferns, particularly the transition from defence to attack where the Silver Ferns moved the ball at speed throughout the court.

Taumaunu made three personnel changes at the first break with Irene van Dyk replacing Cathrine Latu at goal shoot, Shannon Francois at wing attack and Courtney Tairi at centre. Scotland also made changes in their mid-court with Samantha Murphy moving to wing attack and Fiona Moore coming off the bench to centre.

Goal attack Jodi Brown dictated play in the frontline while the Ferns’ defence line tightened up even more in the second quarter, with Joline Henry, Katrina Grant and Leana de Bruin forcing numerous turnovers.

The defence through the mid-court also stemmed the flow of ball for the Thistles as the Ferns proved relentless with their pressure throughout the 60 minutes.

Scotland had little answer and were restricted to one goal for much of the second spell and the third quarter. They hit double figures late in the third quarter.

The Ferns won the quarter 19-3 and Taumaunu opted for more changes heading into the final 15 minutes with Latu and Maria Tutaia teaming up for the first time in the match.

Karaka continued to impress in the circle alongside Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit while Tairi played the second half at wing defence.

The Ferns’ flair was showcased in the fourth quarter with Latu and Tutaia exciting the crowd with their play on court.

Scotland’s attacking play was at its best in the last spell, having injected some speed into their play, as their confidence grew with both their links and finishing.

The Silver Ferns take on the Scottish Thistles in the second exhibition match on Wednesday morning (NZT).

Starting line-ups:
Silver Ferns – Cathrine Latu GS, Jodi Brown GA, Laura Langman WA, Millie Lees C, Joline Henry WD, Katrina Grant GD, Leana de Bruin GK.

Scotland – Lesley Macdonald GS, Lynsey Gallagher GA, Karin Connell WA, Samantha Murphy C, Clare Brownie WD, Rachel Forbes GD, Hayley Mulheron GK.

-Ends-

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