Starting positions on the line

Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander said that players are playing for starting seven positions in their remaining two preliminary round matches, beginning with Trinidad & Tobago on Monday.

With Australia on the verge of securing its berth in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games semi-finals, Alexander has yet to decide on her final starting combinations.

“Every time the players go out on court they’re not only competing for Australia but they’re competing for positions so you need to bring your form,” Alexander said ahead of her side’s third game in three days.

“We obviously rested some players (on Sunday) but they’ll get their opportunity.”

Undefeated after their opening three games of the tournament following victories over Wales, England and Barbados, the Australians sit two points clear of England at the top of Pool B.

Shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Caldwell put their best foot forward in Sunday’s 50-goal victory over Barbados, combining well with midcourters Kim Green and Madi Robinson, in an impressive outing.

While at the other end of the court Sharni Layton and Bianca Chatfield limited the Caribbean nation to just 13 goals in the first half in a relentless performance as Australia finished with 21 deflections and 15 interceptions for the match.

Australia is expected to continue to trial combinations when they line up against Trinidad and Tobago on Monday morning – a side they’ve had mixed results against in their previous 30 meetings.

The island nation has the second best record against Australia in international netball, winning 17 per cent of matches with 5 wins and three draws, second to New Zealand’s 39 per cent winning record.

“They’ve got a similar style to Barbados, who they beat by one goal earlier in the week, so we’re assuming that it will be a similar level to our game today,” Alexander said.

“We really need to be working on our targets, what we’re trying to do individually and as a team together.”

Glasgow hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Australia against Trinidad and Tobago after failing to record a victory in their two previous matches at the 1987 World Netball Championships in Scotland.

The Australian team, which featured current Silver Ferns assistant coach Vicki Wilson, went down to Trinidad and Tobago 51-50 in the final preliminary round game before drawing 46-46 two days later before finishing the tournament in a tie for second.

Australia will line up against Trinidad and Tobago on Monday at 11.30am (8.30pm AEST).

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