Sights set on March 31
Currently in New Zealand where they have just completed the pre-season tournament in Tauranga alongside the nine other franchises, the NSW Swifts have their sights firmly set on March 31.
NSW Swifts coach Lisa Beehag was impressed with the team’s performance over the three-day tournament, which saw them play the West Coast Fever, WBOP Magic, Southern Steel, Queensland Firebirds and Adelaide Thunderbirds.
“I think we’re coming together nicely,” Beehag said.
“The weekend gave us the opportunity to run with lots of different combinations and rotate the players through the court. Some of that was forced on us due to injuries which in turn has meant that there’s been a bit more load on a couple of players than we would have liked.
“There are a lot of things that we’ve been working on at training which went well, and likewise there are some things which didn’t work all that well. But tomorrow’s game against the Mystics is another chance for us to concentrate on those.”
Entering the weekend without Mo’onia Gerrard and Vanessa Ware, the NSW Swifts had a handful of players who hadn’t experienced ANZ Championship netball before, including temporary replacement players Paige Hadley and Gabi Simpson, as well as Kim Borger and April Letton who had a small taste of netball at this level with the Firebirds in 2011.
“The experience gained is the biggest thing. The understanding of playing game in-game out and really getting to understand the pace of the game is really important, not to mention the intensity and the umpiring which is also a little bit different at this level,” Beehag said.
With one more training game against the LG Mystics tomorrow before returning home, Beehag has set a few goals for the team in their last hit out against an ANZ Championship side before the season gets underway.
“We want to try to come up with a couple of game plans that we’re comfortable with but that also will make an impression and force the opposition into making changes. We’ll try to establish some of those in our match tomorrow,” she said.
“We’ve tried lots of different things and now we’ll pick a couple of those that are working well and also look at having plans B, C and D to change things up a bit.”
The NSW Swifts will enter this match against the LG Mystics will 11 players after Gabi Simpson returned home to Canberra last night to undergo further scans on her injured ankle.