Photo: Courtesy of Tom Roberts.
Australian 21/U coach Carol Byers said competition for spots in the starting seven is ensuring her players are at the top of their games heading into the Final of the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow.
The unbeaten Australia face off against arch rivals New Zealand for the gold medal on Sunday morning (AEST).
Byers said all 12 players in her squad have shown throughout the tournament they are capable of stepping out on court and performing at a high standard.
“They are all very good players, so we’ve been able to share workload around so we have 12 fresh players,” Byers said.
“So I’m very confident that we can put any one of those 12 girls out there and they can do the job. Because there’s such depth of talent in the team, they’ve all been fighting really hard for spots (on court).
“So internally, that competition for spots has really allowed us to gain that constant pressure, which has improved our performance.
“The message to the girls has been every game you get out there (on court), you need to stamp you authority that you want to be in the starting line-up.”
Australia is chasing its fifth World Youth Championship crown and to defend the title won at the Cook Islands in 2009.
New Zealand was champions in 1992 and 2005, the only year that Australia did not qualify for the final.
“We’re very excited,” Byers said of the feeling around the team about being in the final. “This is what we’ve come here for.
“I’ve been really happy with our draw. Every game has been getting progressively harder.
“They’ve worked exceptionally well all tournament, they have gotten better every game and they are doing everything they possibly can to be as well prepared as they could be to be ready for this game.
“They look sharp, which is great.”
Australia holds a 3-2 win-loss advantage over New Zealand in the history of the World Youth Championships.
Byers said recovery was the main focus of the Australians’ build up to the Final after beating England 67-33 in the Semi-Final.
The players will also get to enjoy some time with their families, who have made to trip across to Scotland to support the team, before having a light shooting and training session and watching video edits of their New Zealand opponents.
Both teams are stocked with players who boast ANZ Championship experience, making them very familiar with their respective playing styles
“Both teams know each other quite well so there are not too many secrets between the both of us,” Byers said.
“It’s all about who performs better on the day.
“I’m confident our girls have got the skills to do the job. It’s about making sure they do it on the day so we come away with the gold medal.”
Visit www.worldyouthnetball.com for a live stream of the Final.
The game will be played at 3.45am (NZST), 1.45am (AEST), 1.15am (CST) and 11.45pm (Saturday night, AWST).