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NZ Netballers secure decisive win over Games hosts

NZ Netballers secure decisive win over Games hosts

Media Advisory
26 July 2014

The New Zealand Netball team made it two-from-two after sealing a dominant 71-14 win over Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Saturday.

The defending champions rebounded from a patchy 50-47 opening win over Malawi with an improved outing across all areas of the court. Chasing a third successive Commonwealth Games title, the New Zealand team built throughout the match, the links, flow and accuracy developing the longer the match progressed.

Feeling their way through the first half, the New Zealanders put their foot down in the second with a solid all-round performance, in the process showing healthy signs of continuing improvement through the early stages of the tournament.

The only new cap in the New Zealand team for the Commonwealth Games, Ellen Halpenny was named in the starting line-up at goal shoot, making her international debut a day after her 24th birthday.

The versatile shooter, the 157th Netball international for New Zealand, paired with the experienced Jodi Brown under the hoop while Liana Leota (wing attack), Laura Langman (centre), Joline Henry (wing defence), captain Casey Kopua (goal defence) and Leana de Bruin (goalkeeper) rounded out a strong starting seven.

New Zealand slowly built their flow and connections through the first quarter, Henry a strong presence early on with her ability to snaffle turnover ball. Coached by New Zealander Gail Parata, the Thistles struggled to breach New Zealand’s strong through-court defence as the defending champions picked off numerous intercept and rebound opportunities.

Growing in confidence, Halpenny became a key target under the hoop, acquitting herself well as she slotted nine goals from 11 attempts in the first quarter, the New Zealanders showing increasing glimpses of their speed and flow on attack.

The long reaches of Kopua and de Bruin thwarted Scotland’s shooters as the New Zealanders took a 16-2 lead into the first break.

Scotland made a host of changes for the second spell as both teams put in more purposeful efforts, Langman full of energy and bustle through the midcourt while Leota came into her own through her flair and inventiveness.

An ankle injury suffered earlier in the match forced Halpenny from the court midway through the stanza, her replacement Cathrine Latu slotting in with ease as the New Zealanders began to find their rhythm and court craft.

The Thistles also enjoyed a more productive spell, the introduction of teenaged shooter Jo Pettit and the strong athletic ability of midcourter Claire Brownie keeping the home crowd involved.

However, the host team found it hard to contain the world-ranked No 2 New Zealanders who stretched out to a comfortable 36-9 lead at the main break.

The introduction of Maria Tutaia (goal attack), Shannon Francois (centre), Anna Harrison (wing defence) and Katrina Grant (goalkeeper) coincided with a powerful third quarter surge from the New Zealanders.

The instinctive understanding between Tutaia and Latu paid dividends with the Silver Ferns clicking into another gear while Scotland lost their way in struggling to cope under the constant pressure.

The host team could muster just the one goal at the beginning of the quarter and one at the end as New Zealand dominated all facets during a 17-2 run which helped them to a 54-11 lead at the last break.

Latu impressed with her contribution, the shooter’s sure hands, deft movement and accuracy netting a 30-goal haul from 31 attempts.

Please click here for the 2014 Media Guide for the New Zealand Netball Team at the Commonwealth Games.

-Ends-

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