No Australian netballer has yet managed to discuss an alleged tactical innovation frankly, although rumours persist that their shooters will combine to seek a momentary height advantage during tomorrow's Constellation Cup opener against the Silver Ferns.
During the trans-Tasman competition in May the Northern Mystics infamously employed a rugby lineout lifting manoeuvre in the goal circle to thwart net-bound shots against the Melbourne Vixens - an effective shock tactic that worked, if only in the short-term.
There was no warning the Mystics had practiced hoisting Anna Harrison - secrecy undoubtedly contributed to the ploy's success - but in contrast the Australians have been happy to fuel speculation their shooters are preparing to trial a similar tactic to circumvent a defensive unit strengthened by the return of Silver Ferns captain Casey Williams.
Australian captain Natalie von Bertouch was non-committal when asked yesterday.
“It's very funny talking about that. It may or may not happen, that's all I'll say about that one."
With five shooters on their roster Williams is expecting Alexander to rotate her personnel throughout the three-test series and subsequent quad series featuring England and South Africa.
Goal shoots Caitlin Bassett and Cath Cox are the post options, while Natalie Medhurst, Erin Bell and Susan Pratley are vying for the GA bib. While the shooters and defenders are evenly matched, Australia has an edge in the mid-court where the Ferns are adjusting to life without Temepara George, Joline Henry and Liana Leota.
The trio represent 188 caps worth of nous and leave 81-test campaigner Laura Langman to nurse Camilla Lees (3 caps) and converted goal defence/keep Kayla Cullen (5 caps) through the rebuilding phase against a unit that boasts 198 internationals between them.
Von Bertouch hoped to exploit that inexperience but said there would be no complacency among her, Mo'onia Gerrard, Kim Green, Madison Browne and Chelsea Pitman.
Squads - NZ: Casey Williams (captain), Jodi Brown, Kayla Cullen, Leana de Bruin, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Laura Langman, Cathrine Latu, Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Maria Tutaia, Irene van Dyk.
Australia: Natalie von Bertouch (captain), Cath Cox (vice-captain), Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Madison Browne, Rebecca Bulley, Bianca Chatfield, Julie Corletto, Laura Geitz, Mo'onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Renae Hallinan, Natalie Medhurst, Chelsea Pitman, Susan Pratley.
Schedule: 1st test, Sept 16, Melbourne. 2nd test Sept 20, Auckland. 3rd test Sept 23, Christchurch. Fairfax NZ
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