Cox handed captaincy with von Bertouch to rest
Captain Natalie von Bertouch will be rested for the Australian Diamonds Quad-Series fixture against South Africa to give her more time to overcome an ankle injury sustained in the victory over the New Zealand Silver Ferns on Sunday.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander named her 12-player team on Wednesday with von Bertouch the only player to miss selection while both Chelsea Pitman and Caitlin Thwaites have been recalled into the team.
Von Bertouch, who joined her Diamonds team mates in Wellington on Tuesday after undergoing scans in Sydney, was helped off the court in the opening quarter of Sunday’s 20-goal victory after rolling her ankle when going for an intercept.
“We just can’t take that risk with her ankle knowing that there are games still to come which she needs to back up for, so it was really just an injury management decision,” Alexander said.
The Diamonds will be out to maintain their undefeated record at the mid-way stage of the Quad-Series competition when they line up against South Africa in New Zealand on Thursday night at TSB Bank Arena, Wellington.
While the Australians have already accounted for the South Africans once this series, winning 63-31 in Newcastle a week ago though, Alexander still believes her side has room for improvement, even after a record breaking victory over the Silver Ferns in their last outing.
“We sat down and looked at the DVD today again and analysed our centre passes and turn over conversion, we know that our percentage wasn’t as high as we would like so that’s certainly something that we’ll be looking to address,” Alexander said.
“Scoring off centre passes and turn overs is not high enough so we really need to make sure that that is taken care of and also making sure that we bring our intensity to the first quarter.”
Test veteran Catherine Cox will captain the Diamonds for the eighth time when the Australians run out against South Africa on Thursday evening. Cox last captained the Diamonds during the 2011 Holden Netball Test Series, leading Australia to a 3-0 whitewash over England and a 2-1 series victory over the Silver Ferns to claim the Constellation Cup title.
Australian Diamonds team to play South Africa:
Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Madison Browne, Rebecca Bulley, Bianca Chatfield, Catherine Cox (captain), Renae Hallinan, Mo’onia Gerrard, Chanel Gomes, Chelsea Pitman, Susan Pratley, Caitlin Thwaites
photos Janos Schmidt