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Diamonds following process on route for Commonwealth Game
On the eve of the Diamonds second Test against the Silver Ferns in Wellington, Diamonds captain Sharelle McMahon has dismissed Australia’s mental edge over the New Zealanders.
With the idea of having a ‘mental edge’ bandied around in the New Zealand media in recent days, the captain said the Australians were more concerned with building form and following a process to hit peak form at the Commonwealth Games in October.
Thursday’s match will be the first for the Australians as the group of 12 that will travel to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games with McMahon acknowledging the team will be a bit fresh and will have many things to work on.
Sharelle McMahon – Australian Diamonds captain
· Casey Williams said she gets nervous coming up against the Aussies and I have to say I get a little nervous coming up against the New Zealanders, I think most players from both teams would say that. It’s a huge challenge.
· I was really pleased that in the last few minutes of that game [Adelaide Test] when it was really tight we were able to stand up to that pressure and move away by a couple of goals.
· I was really happy that is those last few minutes, we were able to hold strong we had a few younger players on court then so it’s not that they’ve had a lot of experience in that situation –they did really well.
· There is a lot of talk about this mental edge. I think we put out a solid performance in Adelaide so for us it’s about building on that for the Commonwealth Games whether that’s mental whether that’s physical whatever it is we’ve just got a process we are going through over these last few weeks to hit the Commonwealth Games in the best form we possibly can.
· I think the players enjoy the directness that Norma speaks to us with, you are never under any questions of what she is thinking or what she expects from you. So that from a coach is a really positive thing – you always know exactly where you stand. Sometimes it hits you between the eyes and you need to take a second to cope with it but that’s Norma and one of the really big strengths of her as a coach.
· There are lots of areas for us to improve on. As a group of 12 going into the Commonwealth Games this will be the first game that we’ve been together as that group so it’s fairly fresh for us and fairly new and we’ve got those combinations to work on and to work on that team feeling that we need to have in a major tournament like the Commonwealth Games.
Norma Plummer – Australian Diamonds coach
· Our error rate can build up. We turned over something like 36 balls but only nailed 12 on the scoreboard [in Adelaide], but I think the Ferns were around about the same [turnovers] but only converted on eight. So that’s were the pressure was with both teams. So if that’s the case we have to be able to capitalize on those balls; you can’t afford to waste all these turnovers that you pick up.
· I picked this team for it’s versatility. In the past I’ve had [Catherine] Cox with Sharelle [McMahon], I’ve had [Susan] Pratley play out the front of McMahon and now [Natalie] Medhurst with McMahon. I’ve got this depth so if we have any issues with injuries we can try and maintain the standard out on court. And then in the backend it’s the same thing, [Laura] Geitz and I can put [Mo’onia] Gerrard in wing defence.
· I think in this day and age, and I came through the system of top seven, you need 12 kids not seven and that’s what I coach 12 kids not seven. If I don’t coach the 12… well I keep saying you are only as good as your bench because if you get an injury you are gone – that’s the way I look at it. But that’s a personal thing I’m not saying what the Ferns should or shouldn’t do, really those questions are for Ruth [Aiken].
· We’ll pick our team to suit us and line-up to whatever the Ferns line-up, again you don’t want to start worrying about working out what they are going to do. I’m not really that concerned, when we get on court then the players have to adjust to whatever their game is.
Thursday 2 September, 7.30pm
Silver Ferns v Diamonds
TSB Bank Arena, Wellington
Sunday 5 September, 4.00pm
Silver Ferns v Diamonds
Vector Arena, Auckland