Diamonds take hit with injuries to midcourters

ADRIAN WARREN
Last updated 13:43 22/10/2012
Natalie von Bertouch
Getty Images

IN DOUBT: Diamonds captain Natalie von Bertouch lies injured on the court during their 20-point thrashing of the Silver Ferns.

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The Australian netball team's centre stocks are being tested, with captain Natalie von Bertouch and Kimberlee Green both hurt and two potential replacements sidelined.

Skipper von Bertouch, who injured an ankle early in Sunday's 68-48 victory over the Silver Ferns in Sydney, didn't travel with the team on Monday as they headed to New Zealand for the second half of the Quad Series.

Von Bertouch, who was hurt in an accident with teammate Bianca Chatfield, will undergo scans on Monday, with coach Lisa Alexander hopeful her captain will rejoin the team on Tuesday.

She may not be available against England in Wellington on Thursday, but Green has definitely been ruled out of the three matches in New Zealand.

Green, who replaced von Bertouch on Sunday before being substituted herself at three-quarter time, has been troubled by an ongoing foot injury.

"She's been battling with it all year and played through quite an amount of pain yesterday and was absolutely courageous," Alexander said of Green.

She said the selectors would wait for the results of von Bertouch's scans before deciding on Tuesday whether to add someone to the squad.

Compounding the injuries to von Bertouch and Green are the unavailability of two potential replacements.

Ashleigh Brazill dropped out of the squad earlier this month when she had to undergo knee surgery.

Elissa Macleod, who was recently invited to train with he Diamonds at a squad camp, is also unavailable due to a knee niggle.

"We're a strong group and this is just another challenge for us," Alexander said of the spate of injured centres.

She emphasised she already had players in the squad who were capable of slotting in at centre.

"We've got (wing defence) Renae Hallinan and (wing attack) Madison Browne, who can play at centre," Alexander said.

The injuries had not totally doused the euphoria in the team following their record-breaking performance against New Zealand.

On Monday, Alexander was still savouring her team's effort in recording their highest ever score against New Zealand and their biggest win in 12 years over their arch-rival.

Their 68-goal haul eclipsed their previous best against NZ by one and showed the team had learnt from their recent Constellation Cup 2-1 series loss to the Silver Ferns.

"We still haven't quite come to terms with it (Sunday's win), I'm certain it will all sink in fairly soon," Alexander said.

"I'm just so pleased for the girls, they've just put a huge amount of effort in."

Australia leads the Quad Series from New Zealand, England and South Africa with double headers to be played in Wellington (October 25), Tauranga (October 28) and Hamilton (November 1). 

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- AAP

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