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Australia warm up with victory over Thunder
Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander said she was satisfied with her side’s performance following an exhibition match in Manchester.
The Australians continued their Commonwealth Games preparations with a hard-fought 58-52 victory over a Manchester Thunder Selection team that feature five Australians, including new recruit Chelsea Pitman and Games training partners Erin Bell, Rebecca Bulley, Karyn Bailey and Gabi Simpson.
Australia was pushed all the way before sealing victory in the dying minutes of the match, played in front of a capacity crowd at Wright Robinson School.
“We got the win, it wasn’t pretty but we still managed to get the result and there are still things we need to work on at training this week,” Alexander said following the game.
“A tough game like that was exactly what we needed, practicing the things that we’ve been working on at training.
“We know now we need to go back and do a little bit more timing work in attack and that’s what we’ll do.”
Humid and stifling conditions greeted the Australians in the gymnasium as they raced out to a four-goal advantage early in the match before the hosts battled back to lead 14-13 at quarter-time.
The introduction of defender Julie Corletto at goal defence at quarter-time immediately paid dividends as the Australians settled to take a five-goal lead into half-time, leading 27-23.
Alexander cleared her bench at the main break to provide all 12 players with a run in the match against England’s reigning Superleague champions.
The Thunder had an opportunity to level the scores with six minutes remaining before the Australians capitalised on the miss and pilled on three unanswered goals to put the result beyond doubt in a match riddled by turnovers.
“We came into the match with a few targets but didn’t come anywhere near them, we were really fighting for our lives which is good practice,” Alexander said.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have in attack but there were certainly some great signs in defence, particularly Julie Corletto, I thought she played beautifully today.
“Just goes to show that you have to keep working at it at training and the girls know that, the players realise that we’ve got some hard work to do at training this week.”
The charity match against the Thunder was organised in support of the EAFA England Amputee Football Association and the Young Oncology Unit at The Christie Hospital.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS