Trans-Tasman round beckons

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST - Australia (AUS) v Jamaica (JAM) in a medal game on Day 9 of the Netball World Cup 2015 SYDNEY. Photo: Murray Wilkinson (NWC2015 Media)

Our first full Trans-Tasman weekend of the ANZ Championship takes place this weekend and the Australian teams will all be super keen to make it a clean sweep of wins.

None more than the Adelaide Thunderbirds who were courageous in their efforts going down to the Mystics last Monday night.

I am off to Adelaide this week to conduct my National Coach visit to the Thunderbirds and I’m looking forward to supporting the coaching team – led by my former Diamonds’ Assistant Coach Michelle den Dekker – and athletes in their preparations for the big game versus the undefeated Southern Steel.

It will be a big task, however, the Thunderbirds have shown incremental improvement over the past three weeks and if they can put together 60 minutes of concentrated effort they could produce their first win of the 2016 season. But it will be tough.

The Southern Steel have improved this season under the ANZ Championship winning coach Noeline Taurua. They are very stingy on turnovers and disciplined on defence. This team attitude is assisting them to use goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid’s strengths to full advantage.

They are also led by the unflappable and tough as nails Wendy Frew. Her leadership on court is reminding her teammates to stick to the defensive task and she is always available at the transverse line to reset the attack. She leads by example and is an experienced reader of the game out on court.

As the National Coach I believe all Australian ANZ Championship franchises can get the wins this weekend but all games will be hard fought.

On a very bright note, Madi Robinson achieves the 100 game milestone in the ANZ Championship this Monday night against the Tactix in New Zealand.

It has been quite a journey to this moment for Madi in her netball career and all coaching, support staff and squad members of the Australian Diamonds are very proud of her efforts and wish her well for her milestone match.

As announced last weekend the dynamic duo of Head Coach Jane Searle and Assistant Coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson will take charge of our Australian Fast5 Team in Melbourne in the last weekend of October.

Congratulations to both coaches and we know that their experience and creativity will again shine through and assist the team to step up to achieving a gold medal at this event.