Vitality Netball World Cup - Day Three
Vitality Netball World Cup - Day Three

Diamonds coach: Landslides a ‘real downer’

Lisa Alexander has called for a World Cup formatting rethink, contending eight games in 10 days is no longer feasible given netball's rapidly rising standard and intensity.

At the very least, the Diamonds coach has implored the sport's hierarchy to consider allowing mid-tournament injury replacements, a plea that comes after England star Layla Guscoth ruptured her Achilles two days in.

Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Diamonds head coach Lisa Alexander. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Australia cruised through their first preliminary pool with three walkovers of Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, the latter a 99-24 mauling.

England and New Zealand were similarly dominant, with world No. 2 Jamaica the only top-four nation to lose a match when the Sunshine Girls were stunned 55-52 by fifth-ranked South Africa on Sunday.

The heavyweights all rotated their line-ups over the three openings days, using the competitive training runs to iron out kinks and cross their fingers no injuries hit.

Kelsey Browne of Australia in action during the match between Australia and Sri Lanka. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Kelsey Browne of Australia in action during the match between Australia and Sri Lanka. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Alexander said the International Netball Federation should consider changing the format, arguing landslides don't make for a good spectacle.

"I've thought that for a long time," Alexander said.

"Don't get me wrong, I love playing Sri Lanka and it's really important to them, but at the end of the day it's not necessarily conducive to great television watching.

"We definitely need to look at that in the future."

She also pushed for additional days between games to avoid severe fatigue come the business end of the tournament.

"Having the back-to-back schedule and then not being able to replace players who are injured is a real downer for our sport," she said.

"It's not just the physicality, the athletes are so highly trained now and they are extraordinarily fit, so to have to do that level day in day out is going to take its toll.

"You are going to get injuries like Layla's (Guscoth). I'm not saying that's the reason Layla was injured but it certainly doesn't help.

"If we had a few more days off it would make a big difference.

"I'm a bit old fashioned in that I've always coached tournaments and part of their charm is the fact you've got to plan your week accordingly.

"But I think we're just getting into such high territory with the athletes being so fit and so intense in the way they play that we might need to be mindful of that."

 

Goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites finished with 67 goals against Sri Lanka and scored 13 times in the opening 15 minutes.

By the final 15 minutes, Sri Lanka began to tire, having been twisted and pulled all over the court by the clever and efficient interchanges and fluid movements of the Australians.

Australia play Barbados Monday night and will face African upstarts Malawi Tuesday before using Wednesday's break to prepare for a showdown against long-time trans-Tasman rivals the Silver Ferns, with a more favourable semi-final spot on the line in the new three-stage format.

"We've got to have a mental break but we will probably have to do some performance analysis work before that game," Alexander said.

"Obviously it's a big one, that's what we're working for. But we've got to get used to that African style with Malawi before that."

News Corp Australia


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