NZ needs to test depth - Brown

Jodi Brown
Jodi Brown
Testing its squad depth could be the way to go for the Silver Ferns.

That was one of ex-Silver Fern Jodi Brown's key thoughts when mulling over the situation the team finds itself in.

The side let slip a six-goal fourth-quarter lead in its first outing at the Northern Quad Series against England in London, eventually going down 64-57 in overtime.

That came on the back of four consecutive losses to Australia late last year in the Constellation Cup series.

It is something that needs addressing before it faces South Africa in Johannesburg tomorrow morning.

However, even more pertinent is the Commonwealth Games, now just 69 days away.

Brown said cutting out mistakes and getting back match fitness were key, but she felt it would be useful to dig deeper into the squad.

''I'd like to see her [coach Janine Southby] try some of the other players,'' she said.

''The likes of a Te Paea Selby-Rickit or a Whitney Souness.

''She's said she wants to see these young ones under pressure and obviously see them before the selection of the Commonwealth Games [squad].

''But we haven't seen them; we haven't seen those players in that situation. So we don't know what they can do.''

She said the Quad Series would be the time to do that, as losing there would be forgiven if a gold medal was won at the Commonwealth Games.

However, she felt a team of 12 was needed to do that.

At present both England and Australia had shown they went 12 players deep, whereas New Zealand had not gone further than nine.

Both of those countries represented big challenges, as did South Africa which she said had improved greatly and Jamaica which brought X-factor.

Brown said getting more game time would help the Silver Ferns.

While the players would have been training over summer, it was not quite the same as having to make pressure decisions late in the game while being tired.

It was the basics the side needed to nail before its next match though, as individual errors added up.

''They need to learn how to treasure the ball first and foremost and not commit those silly personal errors.

''In the end, if one person on the court each does a personal error, they do add up. That's where you're losing the ball and losing goals.

''So ball retention will be huge on their to-do list, being able to nail those critical moments when you're under pressure, when you're up by six or seven.

''Netball's a pretty simple game; you've just got to score your centre pass. I know it's easier said than done, but it's pretty easy when you get given the ball 50% of the time.''

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