Ferns' silver was better than nothing, says Grant

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2014
Silver Ferns
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

GLUM GATHERING: The Silver Ferns in sombre mood after receiving their silver medals.

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At least they weren't England.

Consolation's been scant for the Silver Ferns since their humiliating 58-40 defeat to Australia in the Commonwealth Games netball final. The two-time defending champions endured a hugely disrupted campaign, but that's hardly an excuse for such a poor showing.

It might've been a lot worse, though, as England would attest.

"We went there to get a gold medal and didn't do that. But if you think about it, and look at what we went through and how close the games were and look at England ending up fourth without a medal at all, that could easily have been us," defender Katrina Grant said.

"There were people throughout the village who went to get a medal and didn't, so we need to appreciate what we have. Even though it's not what we wanted and we are definitely upset with that, it's definitely better than nothing."

England had both Australia beaten, in pool play, then the Silver Ferns in a gripping semifinal, only to lose each match on the final whistle. They were all cried out come the playoff for bronze with Jamaica.

The Silver Ferns shed their own tears after the hiding handed to them by Australia. The default response, following such a comprehensive defeat, is for a team to claim they'll emerge better from it. In the Silver Ferns' case, they genuinely believe it.

They will meet Australia in four tests in October, before next year's World Cup in Sydney. It's hard to see how things will be hugely different in two months' time, though having 12 fit players to choose from would be an immediate improvement.

The Silver Ferns were down to as few as nine in Glasgow, which Grant believes will prove the making of the team.

"We had to stick together or else the s ... was really going to hit the fan," she said.

"It's already made us a pretty strong and pretty tight unit and we've learnt a heck of a lot from this and, at world champs, this much can't go wrong again. It can't, there's just no way that can happen to us twice.

"Not making excuses or anything; teams have injuries and you have to deal with it and the Aussies were just better than us. But heading into world champs, we know what we can deal with now and I can't wait for them to come along."

First, Grant and the rest of the Ferns have a fortnight off, before venturing back into the gym ahead of September's national trials in Auckland.

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- The Dominion Post

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