Diamonds Coach Tips World Cup Boost
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has predicted the coming World Cup will provide netball with the same fillip as soccer got from the recent Asian Cup.
In August, Sydney will host the first netball World Cup in Australia in 24 years. “You saw what the Asian Cup did for football in this country, and I think you’re going to see the same thing for netball when the World Cup comes,” Alexander said.
“It’s going to hopefully go from strength to strength and also help the game from an international perspective as well.”
The draw for the 10-day tournament was released on Monday. As expected, reigning champions and 2014 Commonwealth Games title-holder Australia will face New Zealand early on. The two great rivals will meet on day three, after each play Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados on the first two days.
It will form part of a trans-Tasman blockbuster double-header in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct that weekend, with a Bledisloe Cup rugby Test played there the previous night.
Alexander said it was an exciting draw and wasn’t fussed about such an early meeting with another frontline contender.
“I come from a background of national titles, I coached Victoria and we always had tough round matches and then the finals as well,” Alexander said.
“From my perspective, I’ve been really well prepared for this type of coaching challenge and our athletes will be the same. Coaches will just play what is in front of them in terms of the draw. But I can see the commercial realities of the facts that the fans want to see those matches a little bit earlier and don’t just want to see just the relatively minor matches leading up.”
Alexander was able to run the rule over most of her current Australian squad members at last weekend’s pre-season Summer Shootout tournament.
One exception was national captain Laura Geitz, who is coming back from surgery she had late last year and was ruled out of the tournament to get her right for the start of the trans-Tasman competition at the beginning of March.
She travelled to Sydney with the Queensland Firebirds. “She was trying to tell me to tell [Firebirds’ coach] Roselee [Jencke] to put her on and I said,’I’m not doing that, thank you very much’,” Alexander said.
“The [trans-Tasman team] coaches are very professional. They follow the advice of the medical staff to the letter and and we’re most concerned about the health and welfare of our athletes number one, so Laura will just have to wait.”