Commonwealth Games: Lisa Alexander backs under-siege Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby

  • 15/04/2018
Lisa Alexander has offered the Silver Ferns coach some words of encouragement.
Lisa Alexander has offered the Silver Ferns coach some words of encouragement. Photo credit: Photosport

Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander has offered under-siege Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby some words of encouragement as New Zealand prepare for Sunday's Commonwealth Games bronze medal play-off.  

Australia, who thumped New Zealand 65-44 in Saturday's semi-final, will meet England in the gold medal match, while the Ferns play Jamaica, who were beaten 56-55 by the Roses.           

It will be the first time in 20 years, since netball's introduction to the Games at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, that the Kiwis haven't made the final.

Australia totally dominated the Silver Ferns at Coomera, the loss New Zealand's third of the tournament after defeats to England and Malawi.     

"I don't want to presume to say anything about the Silver Ferns programme, because I know how difficult it is as a national coach, particularly for Janine," Alexander said.  

"I support her, and I've been a very respectful colleague of hers for a long time.              

"She carries herself with great dignity and I think some of the stuff in the press is really a little bit distasteful, to be honest."          

Lisa Alexander.
Lisa Alexander. Photo credit: Getty Images

Australia's decisive win marks a 31-goalturnaround for the Diamonds, who were beaten 57-47 by New Zealand in last September's Quad Series.          

Alexander believes the change in fortunes has been triggered by a step up from the Diamonds.              

"I think we've gone ahead - I don't necessarily think the Silver Ferns have gone backwards, I think we've taken our game to a new level.       

"We always believed we could, but it was a matter of execution."           

Silver Ferns skipper Katrina Grant echoed Alexander's assessment of Australia's improvement since their Quad Series loss.               

"I feel like they've gone away and really worked on what wasn't working for them," she said.    

"They've got a lot of confidence in that squad, and they're playing some great netball. Lisa's doing something great with them, and it's really showing."  

Despite the disappointment of another loss, Grant expects her team to come out fighting in the bronze medal play-off.               

"We don't want to go home empty-handed, and Jamaica are going to be tough.               

"We've got give absolutely everything tomorrow, leave it all out on the court. Even if you're broken, you leave it out there."