Quest for im­prove­ment

Sunday News - - SPORT - GE­ORGE HEAGNEY

IT’S a never-end­ing job for Sil­ver Ferns coach Ja­nine Southby in her ef­forts to get the team fir­ing.

The Sil­ver Ferns beat Eng­land 62-55 at Porirua on Thurs­day and now play game two of the three­match Taini Jami­son Tro­phy se­ries in Napier to­day.

New Zealand lost to Eng­land just over a week ago in the Quad Se­ries, but the win on Thurs­day, as well as their vic­tory over Aus­tralia last week­end, show the Sil­ver Ferns have im­proved while in camp to­gether.

In their last out­ing, the Sil­ver Ferns may have looked good at the end, but had to fight hard for the other three-and-a-half quar­ters to sub­due Eng­land.

‘‘We were dis­ap­pointed in a few as­pects of our game the other night,’’ Southby said. ’’We felt that we at times we lacked ur­gency and that was on at­tack and on de­fence.

‘‘So cer­tainly there’s some work to rec­tify that. There’s not a long time be­tween games and a lot of travel, so you don’t get a lot of time on court.’’

Southby has preached all sea­son about the de­sire to keep im­prov­ing and while they may not be dras­tic im­prove­ments ev­ery game, Southby can see the small in­cre­men­tal changes.

‘‘The big thing for us is we do the sim­ple things re­ally well. When we do those sim­ple things well, spe­cial things hap­pen.

‘‘So cer­tainly from our point of view it’s do your own job. Get it done, get it done re­ally well and when that hap­pens, the world is your oys­ter.’’

Their through-court de­fence was what needed to lift sig­nif­i­cantly, Southby said.

There was a dif­fer­ence be­tween the two clashes against Eng­land. In the first test in the Quad Se­ries, when the pres­sure went on in the fi­nal quar­ter, the Sil­ver Ferns fal­tered and Eng­land came from be­hind to win, but three days ago it was New Zealand who thrived un­der the pres­sure.

Southby said at the top level it was about aware­ness and they were still build­ing the level of trust they needed to go into bat­tle.

‘‘I don’t think we’re where we need to be, but we are build­ing it slowly and we take an ap­proach of what we do well to­day, we can do bet­ter to­mor­row. So it’s lit­tle steps along the way, be­cause you don’t go from here to here in one day or two days or a week.

‘‘So we’re cer­tainly very re­al­is­tic of what we need to be do­ing, but some of it’s just be­ing aware and stay­ing in the mo­ment. Rather than dwelling on your er­rors and and think­ing ‘oh my god I’ve got to do this again’ and get­ting too fu­ture-fo­cused.

‘‘It’s ac­tu­ally stay in the mo­ment and play what you see and do as well as you can.’’

The Sil­ver Ferns have depth in GETTY IM­AGES de­fence, but Southby wants it in ev­ery po­si­tion. A few young play­ers were given a run in the Quad Se­ries and she was pleased with the im­pact the bench made on Thurs­day. She said if you’d didn’t have con­fi­dence in the whole group it could make it tough and you could be­come pre­dictable.

There is enough qual­ity in the Eng­land team to test the Sil­ver Ferns and they were in the mix on Thurs­day but they couldn’t keep up when the Sil­ver Ferns put the ham­mer down late in the game.

The Sil­ver Ferns are after fur­ther im­prove­ment when they play Eng­land in the sec­ond test of the Taini Jami­son Tro­phy se­ries to­day.

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