National selectors will again be kept busy this weekend following the fortunes of the Australian teams in Round 2 of the ANZ Championship.
Four of our Aussie sides face off against each other and these two matches look like being fantastic match- ups for the National Selectors to assess performances – as well as for the fans alike.
The NSW Swifts travel over `the ditch’ for the first time this year and will be looking to improve their record in New Zealand with a win against the Mainland Tactix in Christchurch.
Having started the season with a good win last round, I’ll be interested to see how the Swifts back up and look to string consecutive wins together.
The first game of the season in the Perth local timeslot of 9.18am will see the West Coast Fever up against the Melbourne Vixens.
At least some of the athletes have experienced this early “wake-up” call as eight players involved in this game played 9.30am matches at the Diamonds `Going for Gold’ Commonwealth Games simulation camp back in January.
Both teams need to be fully switched on for this contest as it is looming as a season-defining match in many respects.
Fever will be desperate to show everyone that they are the real deal with their first home game of the year and the home crowd firmly on their side.
They match up well on the Melbourne Vixens right across the court and it will be exciting to see Geva Mentor lining up on Caitlin Bassett and young Kate Maloney possibly lining up on Chelsea Pitman.
The other exciting match-up is the coaches. Norma Plummer coached Simone McKinnis for many years at the Victorian Club, Melbourne Blue. This club was synonymous with excellence and premierships in the Victorian State League.
Not to mention that they are both highly successful Australian players of the past.
They both understand what it takes to win and will pull out all the stops to get that, so it will be a cracker of a contest.
The other fascinating sub-plot to Sunday’s Grand Final replay between the Queensland Firebirds and Adelaide Thunderbirds is the fact that the reigning premiers the Thunderbirds could equal the league record for the most consecutive wins.
The Firebirds hold this record of 15 victories in a row, set back in 2011.
What I do know about this match is that it is going to be a tight contest with no quarter given by either team. As both displayed last round with their respective wins in New Zealand, they are both extremely disciplined and well coached.
Head-to-head, Adelaide coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson holds sway over her Queensland counterpart Roselee Jencke in the Thunderbirds versus Firebirds battle. But neither coach will pay attention to this statistic.
They will both be hell bent on preparing their teams to take on the other and to adjust to the Australian-style one-on-one defence.
I will be in the crowd at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of my National Selection duties and can’t wait to see this contest between two very evenly matched teams.
THE other very important task I have this week is in regards to International Women’s Day.
I am representing Netball Australia at an Australia Post International Women’s Day event here in Melbourne.
This event is designed to celebrate the achievements of women in our Australian society and I am very proud to represent netball.
There’s similar events being held at Australia Post head offices in capital cities across Australia.
Former Australian player Selina Gilsenan, current Diamonds squad members Rebecca Bulley and Demelza McCloud and Australian Fast5 Flyers team member Ashleigh Brazill the special guests in their respective capitals.
This year’s theme of International Women’s Day is `Inspiring Change’ and, as a leading female sport, we are in a position to seek to empower women and girls in their daily lives, helping to create a stronger and healthier community.
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