Cullen defends Ferns’ midcourt
‘‘It's a team game and I think we haven't focused on centre or wing attack or wing defence.’’
Kayla Cullen has stuck up for the Silver Ferns’ underfire midcourt, stressing only a full team effort will get them back into the Constellation Cup.
New Zealand head into tonight’s test in Adelaide with dented confidence after losing both home matches in the best-offour series.
The Silver Ferns must beat the Diamonds in the remaining two games, and by convincing margins, to have any slim shot of reclaiming the Constellation Cup for the first time since 2012.
Cullen said no-one was more annoyed about Sunday’s 60-52 loss than the players themselves, with the team only showing patches of what they were capable of.
New Zealand’s midcourt has copped plenty of criticism in the first two games being outplayed by Australian counterparts Liz Watson, Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson.
Not enough pressure has been applied defensively with Australia finding it too easy to send the ball into star goal shoot and captain Caitlin Bassett.
On attack, the connections between the midcourt and shooters has at times lacked precision with possession squandered away at key stages.
Cullen, who has been used off the bench at wing defence, said they hadn’t singled out any one area of the court as letting them down. Every player wearing the black dress needed to step up their game and bring more urgency defensively.
‘‘I don’t think the focus has been on the midcourt. It’s a team game and I think we haven’t focused on centre or wing attack or wing defence or whatever.
‘‘We’re just looking at it as a team.’’
The Silver Ferns have been bitterly disappointing in the Constellation Cup after a characterbuilding 57-47 victory over the Diamonds in last month’s Quad Series decider in Invercargill.
With time ticking until April’s Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, New Zealand desperately need to salvage some pride in the remaining two matches for their own self belief.
Cullen said they trusted their processes and didn’t believe they had suddenly become a horrible side. ‘‘I think the key now is looking forward and pulling all the positives out of those games and nailing those consistently I guess.’’