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Silver Ferns take lessons from huge win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/09/2016 Cathy Walshe

Accepted wisdom in any sport is that coaches always learn more from a loss than a win.

It would stand to reason, then, that the lessons to be taken from an overwhelming victory must be negligible.

Silver Ferns netball coach Janine Southby would beg to differ.

Her team were remorseless in overwhelming a below-strength Jamaican team 72-34 in Nelson on Sunday, the first match in a three-Test series over the next week.

In just her fourth match at the helm, Southby was able to give 11 of her 12-strong squad court time, testing a range of combinations for resilience, resolve and reliability.

The Silver Ferns, despite missing some key players to injury, retirement and motherhood, by and large delivered.

Goal shooter Bailey Mes partnered both Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ameliaranne Wells with aplomb, while in the defensive circle captain Katrina Grant combined with Jane Watson and Phoenix Karaka effectively.

A couple of midcourt permutations were tested, with the uncompromising Laura Langman running at both centre and wing defence to give Shannon Francois more time in the middle.

In general, Southby gave the match a pass mark. But she sounded a warning that she's expecting more from the second Test in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

"You always aim for that perfect game, so we'll be looking forward to cutting our errors out," she said.

Connections were occasionally missing, poor pass choice resulted in unnecessary pressure and timing on creating turnover ball could be improved.

"I think defensively there's a lot more ball for us to get hold of sooner - we do need to be attacking the ball a lot earlier."

Although Jamaica were without their two main strike weapons in towering shooters Romelda Aiken and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, Southby was still wary of their athleticism and anticipation.

"I thought when we kept the ball flat and we kept the ball moving, we were fine but we put ourselves under pressure a couple of times when we put it in the air."

Nevertheless, the Kiwis dominated each quarter on Sunday, leading 19-8, 35-15 and 54-23 at each break and were able to consistently construct three or four-goal scoring runs.

"That's what we'd been working on in training this week, but I think the discipline to do that fell away a little bit towards the end," Southby said.

"It's about being able to maintain that, particularly when we're tired and we've made a few changes.

"There's certainly still a lot of work to do in that area."

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