Coach wary of Jamaicans in Games netball

Coach Lisa Alexander's eyes might be elsewhere as Australia's world champion netball team opt to keep Commonwealth Games preparations close to home.


The Diamonds will be wary of the Jamaican team at the Commonwealth Games, says coach Lisa Alaxander. (AAP)

Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander is considering a last-minute scouting mission to New Zealand to assess the dangerous Jamaicans as she beds down the side's final Commonwealth Games preparations.

The world champion Diamonds will enter the April Gold Coast Games in as red-hot favourites to win their fourth title from six appearances after multiple defeats of England, South Africa and New Zealand since August.

But Alexander is wary of the Jamaicans, who Australia will play on April 11 in their final pool game. It will be their first clash since a 67-56 World Cup semi-final victory in August 2015.

The Sunshine Girls will play in a final tune-up tournament in late March against the Silver Ferns, Malawi Queens and Fiji Pearls, with Alexander hopeful of attending.

"They've flown under the radar a bit but they're playing well from what I've seen with new coach (co-coaches Sasher-Gaye Henry and Marvette Anderson) and their old style," she told AAP.

"I may go (to New Zealand) to get a better look at them."

"Between them and South Africa, who have really improved, we've got a tough draw."

Alexander on Tuesday confirmed the Diamonds would play four practice matches against Super Netball outfits and base themselves on the Sunshine Coast in the lead-up to the Games.

Australia will play the West Coast Fever on March 15 and 16 in Canberra, before heading north for games on March 29 and 31 against the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning.

The matches will be particularly useful for returning defender Laura Geitz after missing the last Super Netball season while having her first child.

"Nothing is a substitute for high-intensity match play and we are fortunate to be able to test ourselves against three high-quality teams," Alexander said.

"Hosting our staging camp on the Sunshine Coast will allow us to focus on our team-first approach, ensuring we are performance-ready for the Games."

Australia open their Commonwealth Games campaign on April 5 against Northern Ireland, then play Barbados (April 6), South Africa (April 8), Fiji (April 9) and Jamaica (April 11).

2 min read
Published 20 February 2018 at 4:44pm
Source: AAP