The Wright Insight: Day four

3 months ago

In Rob's insight for Monday 15 July; Geva was the standout Magpie, and we hear Rob's alternate structure suggestion for future netball World Cups.

Tash Lewis and Rob Wright

Collingwood Magpies netball’s official 2019 Netball World Cup (NWC) correspondent, A.K.A the Magpies’ head coach, Rob Wright, will keep us up to date with all the very latest coming out of Liverpool.

World Cup structure:

We’ve all observed the blow out margins in the first days of match-play. It’s got me thinking whether we’ve got the structure right for this years’ World Cup.

Yesterday Lisa Alexander questioned the World Cup format, calling for a change following too many one-sided contests in the opening days of the competition. From a commercial point of view seeing results upwards of 70 goals is not ideal.

We’ve seen changes to the international netball structure before in an attempt to level the scoreboard. This is the first time we’ve had a low 16 teams compete at a World Cup. Prior to 2007 there were 24 teams and it was common to see scores over 100.

I’d like to suggest an alternative structure – similar to the one Ice Hockey employs for their world competitions. Ice Hockey championships are grouped in pools – depending on a team’s world rank they are grouped and play only the teams within their division. We find the standard of talent is more even within each division which guarantees closer games and greater interest.

There is promotion and relegation between pools. Depending on a teams’ final ranking, top teams from the below groups are promoted and bottom teams are relegated.

I truly believe this system, or one similar, needs to be considered for international netball. The obvious main argument against it is all teams won’t get the opportunity to play the very best, for example Australia played Barbados today and that will be the only opportunity for these teams to play in a four year cycle. Moving forward, I think the international league needs to work out their overall goal – if they want to continue to grow interest in the sport and bring money to the games something needs to change.

Day 4 – Monday 15 July

Today there were closer games but we continued to see blowouts. The very best teams were matched up against good competition but still weren’t the strongest.

Australia and New Zealand both looked really good today.

Australia won by 69 and England won by 43.

Thursday will be a real cracker – Australia v NZ and England v South Africa.

  • Predict Australia to win – margin of 8-12
  • England to beat South Africa – margin of 6-10

Game of the day:

  • Jamaica v England (48 – 56) was the game of the day.
  • The loss was a disaster for Jamaica – bar a miracle, this is the worst result for Jamaica in 24 years (since 1995). This was the last time Jamaica finished fifth and is the best result they can achieve this time round.
  • Jamaica have consistently finished in the top four since 1999.
  • Almost a bit of an omen – 1995 was the year that South Africa won silver after knocking off New Zealand. South Africa will again finish in the top 4 this year.
  • As Jamaica is ranked no. 2 in the world, I would have expected them to want to push on from their bronze result at Commonwealth Games. It will be interesting to see the fallout from that.

What the top four positions look like now are pretty set for the remainder of the competition. The only way it will change is for England and South Africa to lose both their upcoming games, which isn’t looking likely.

From England’s point of view I think today they were really impressive.

  • In the first quarter they got out to a lead of 11 but were reeled back, Jamaica brining the scoreboard back to even.
  • There was only two points the difference at half time (England) – the second quarter of play being a draw.
  • Third quarter ended up being 16-10 to England. Clearly the game was won at there and England was able to hold their nerve.
  • Interestingly, fourth quarter of play was a draw. England took their foot off the gas which created an opportunity for Jamaica but unfortunately was far too late.
  • Overall – Jamaica were impressive and started the game strong but after the third quarter they really fell away. In the end England stayed disciplined and got the job done.

Side fact: They say the third quarter in netball is the championship quarter. It’s an opportunity to stomp authority – the better teams are able to put their foot down and create a margin break.

Tomorrow’s game for Australia will be the most interesting match they’ve had for the tournament (Australia v Malawi).

New Zealand played Malawi on the first day and have improved drastically since then.

  • Malawi are a tricky match-up because they play around with the ball for a while which proves to be quite difficult for their opposition to get a turn around.
  • It’s a very unusual game style for netball – we’ve seen Malawi have 10 centre third passes before it moves down the court. This style of play can be quite frustrating for their opposition.
  • Malawi have been tracking well – they’ve had three victories out of four games so far, the loss against New Zealand on day one.

I expect Australia to beat them comfortably but it will be a decent challenge. In the new rankings Malawi were dropped to ninth place but are a lot better than that. It will be good to see how Australia affairs – it will give us a good indication of what we can expect when Australia and New Zealand match up on Thursday.

Atmosphere:

As expected, the atmosphere at England games is unbelievable, they dominate the crowd. Interestingly, England supporters don’t seem to follow and watch many other games. For that reason you’d love an England final for the atmosphere.

BUT I’m sticking to my guns here and (harshly) don’t think they’ll make it.

In terms of Aussie and NZ fans we are seeing a lot more green and gold compared to black.

Biggest surprise so far:

Zimbabwe has been the true surprise package. As I’ve mentioned, this is their first world cup and they’ve been impressive. It really shows that African netball is on the rise.

To finish, again I thought Kelsey and April had an outstanding game today. However, for me the Collingwood player of the day, even regardless of being a Collingwood player, was Geva Mentor. Geva proved to get better as the day went on and dominated in the second half. She was a real reason why the third quarter was 16-10 against Jamaica. I’m really impressed.

Singing off.

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