Australia set for Jamaica in netball - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Australia set for Jamaica in netball

By Adrian Warren 04/07/2007 08:15:09 PM Comments (0)

Australian netball coach Norma Plummer is set to start her full-strength line-up in Thursday's first Test against Jamaica in Melbourne.

The world number two and three sides will again do battle on Sunday in Sydney.

Plummer has elevated two uncapped players to her squad, in defender Julie Prendergast and shooter Natalie Medhurst, but indicated neither would start Thursday's game.

Plummer doesn't accept Jamaica's assertion that they have a relatively inexperienced squad and pointed out they had brought over most of the players who featured in last year's 54-54 draw with Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

"They are talking up that they have got a very young team, but they've got six that have played in a world championship and Commonwealth Games and I've got four who have played in a world championship," Plummer said.

"We are still pretty green. Natalie von Bertouch has not played against Jamaica before and Julie Prendergast and Natalie Medhurst have them in the under-21s, but have never played against a senior Jamaican team.

"We will have to be totally in control of the game before we start breaking up into testing things.

"It's the first game and we want to go in with our top strength side to start."

Plummer was also sceptical about the published heights of Jamaican captain Elaine Davis and fellow shooter Romelda Aiken, claiming they were taller than advertised.

She said Australian vice captain and shooter Sharelle McMahon would definitely play, despite leaving camp on Wednesday to attend her grandmother's funeral.

Plummer expected Jamaica to provide tough competition.

"You can never ever underestimate the Jamaican's natural athletic ability. They are so clever with the ball.

"We've got to make sure we capitalise on every turnover and finish off the shots and we get them in chase mode."

After watching Australia concede a 10 goal lead to the Jamaicans in Melbourne last year, Plummer was delighted her team had subsequently shown a capacity to finish teams off.

"Since last October this team can now finish off when the pressure hits them. They did it in New Zealand and again in England and their ability to step up is sensational."

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