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Taumaunu expects Aust to target mid-court

18:30 Thu Sep 13 2012
Irene van Dyk, Cathrine Latu
Irene van Dyk (L) talks with Cathrine Latu during a Silver Ferns netball training session.

Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu fully expects Australian counterpart Lisa Alexander to aim plenty of heat at New Zealand's inexperienced mid-court in the three-Test netball series.

"I certainly would," she said before departing Auckland on Thursday for Melbourne.

"It seems the logical thing to do."

Taumaunu said the Silver Ferns had a defensive end with experience and variety, while shooters Irene van Dyk and Maria Tutaia were among the most accurate in the trans-Tasman championship.

But while Laura Langman can boast 81 caps, there are few Test appearances spread over the other mid-court options of Camilla Lees, newcomer Bailey Mes and youngster Kayla Cullen.

"Lisa is an astute coach and I would have thought she would have targeted that area," Taumaunu said.

The series opens in Melbourne on Sunday, with games two and three in Auckland and in Christchurch.

Taumaunu said she didn't have a feel yet as to how the first Test might pan out, other than knowing that it will be a tough contest.

One thing she wants is to get a marker on where the Silver Ferns are in terms of their ability to transfer what they have been practising into a match for the full 60 minutes.

While her players have produced some good performance in training games, Australia will be something else.

Whereas the Silver Ferns have a traditional 12-strong squad, Alexander has added three extra players to hers and Taumaunu expects all 15 to get court time.

She said Alexander's move to go for a bigger roster was "a great way forward" and a measure of the depth of Australian netball.

However, her own preference is to stick to 12, which she feels is more manageable.

"It's not an easy thing to manage 15 people, all of whom want to be on the court," she said.

"I don't envy her that, though I do envy her the ability to make that movement through the three Tests."