Netball World Cup 2019: Silver Ferns prepare for Australia with rout of Northern Ireland

  • 17/07/2019
Ameliaranne Ekenasio.
Ameliaranne Ekenasio. Photo credit: Photosport

The Silver Ferns have rounded out their preparations for more pressing challenges with a 77-28 win over Northern Ireland at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

With five games - and five wins - in five days under their belt, New Zealand now have a day off, before meeting Australia in their last stage-two preliminary match on Thursday at 9.30pm (NZT), which will determine seedings for the semi-finals.

With one eye on the game against Australia, the Silver Ferns were left with plenty to ponder, after a clinical opening half was undone by a messy finish, Northern Ireland competing gamely and leaving coach Noeline Taurua not entirely happy with the outing.

"I was happy for three-quarters of the game," she said. "We were in control and I could see what we were wanting to do, but that last quarter I’m not happy with.

"It was a bit sloppy and the basic skills were not at the level I expect. Every time you take the court, there’s an expectation and we didn’t meet it in that quarter."

Taurua was happy with the 90 percent shooting returns from the match and praised the experience factor, singling out impressive defender Casey Kopua as having a 'blinder'.

The Silver Ferns started with a formidable seven, featuring their most experienced campaigners, Maria Folau (goal shoot), Laura Langman (centre) and Kopua (goal defence) - all playing in their fourth World Cup - and Katrina Rore, attending her third, again picking up the wing defence bib.

The New Zealanders made a sizzling start, posting six unanswered goals in the first three minutes, as Northern Ireland faltered under the early pressure.

Showing few chinks, the Silver Ferns continued to impress with the speed of their through-court transition, shooting accuracy and disruptive defensive pressure, when they bolted out to a 22-7 lead at the first break.

Restricting Northern Ireland to just four goals, the Silver Ferns were well in control when leading 44-11 at the main break.

The Silver Ferns made changes for the third quarter, with Bailey Mes coming on at goal shoot, Shannon Saunders to wing attack (for Gina Crampton) and Phoenix Karaka to goalkeeper, while Folau moved to goal attack.

Unable to maintain their scoring rate of the first half, the Silver Ferns were still largely untroubled in hitting the last turn with a handsome 61-17 lead.

With Te Paea Selby-Rickit (goal shoot) and Karin Burger (wing defence) introduced for the final quarter, all 12 players were again given opportunities in the final game before the more demanding matches ahead.