Netball: News just in that Diamonds’ mid-courter Paige Hadley has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Constellation Cup match between Australia and New Zealand. It’s a blow for the Sydneysider who has had a huge year, being selected for the Netball World Cup and leading the NSW Swifts to victory in the Super Netball last month.
Australia will be without experienced midcourter Paige Hadley for the remainder of the Constellation Cup netball series, after she fractured a wrist in game two on Wednesday. Going into Sunday’s third game of the series at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, the Diamonds and Silver Ferns are locked at 1-1 after two matches in New Zealand.
Diamonds’ coach Lisa Alexander said Australia wouldn’t bring in a replacement for Hadley as they had picked 13 rather than the normal 12 in the squad, which included an extra midcourter.
“We really feel for Paige, especially given she would have been playing in front of her home crowd tomorrow,” Alexander said on Saturday. “To be losing her from the team for the remaining two matches of the series isn’t ideal but we’re confident we have the depth within our group to get the job done.”
A win on Sunday would go a long way toward securing Australia a ninth Constellation Cup series in 10 years, with the final match to be played in Perth on October 27. Alexander opted to go with just three shooters in game two but Hadley’s injury means she will have four players across each line for Saturday’s clash. The match is expected to draw at least 14,000 spectators, which would be the biggest netball attendance anywhere in the world this year.
Wing attack Laura Scherian’s impressive introduction to international play and the increasing influence of fellow Queenslander and shooter Gretel Tippett have been two big positives for Alexander through the games in New Zealand. Tippett continued her impressive shooting form from the World Cup, missing just two of 49 shots across the first two CC matches and her all-round play in Auckland was excellent. Scherian handled the step up with aplomb after getting her Diamonds chance at age 31.
“Shezzie is amazing. She doesn’t look like a debutant at all , she’s very wise,” Tippett told AAP. “She’s my little general out the front; she calls the shots and I love that.”
The fortunes of both have risen considerably since 2014, when they were playing for Queensland Fusion in the domestic second-tier ANL.
“(Tippett) is starting to get that consistency with her game; we’re using her strengths in a more consistent way as well,” Alexander said. “(With) Laura Scherian, it’s possibly the Queensland angle, they have a nice combination together and that was very complementary in the first two Tests and hopefully that will be what we see in the future.”