Having had their bodies and souls knocked about by the West Coast Fever in their last outing, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic brought out the rugby-style tackle pads during their bye week as they looked to combat the physicality.
Shooter Jessie Waitapu, who took a nasty knock to the hip in that round three match, said while the players did get some rest last week, they were also put through some different training methods.
"We did a little bit last week with pads, hitting into the pads and really taking it hard," she said yesterday, in between devouring an after training treat of cake to mark captain Laura Langman's birthday.
"It's more just hitting into the pad and coming off rather than getting smacked around with it.
"I haven't seen the pads before, the big ones. I've only seen the boxing mitts before.
"It's been different, usually we'd be doing boxing and things like that but Noels [coach Noeline Taurua] decided not to.
"She likes to mix it up, try different things."
After being substituted in Perth and struggling to walk, Waitapu had to watch rather than take part in the pads session, but is good to take the court in the Magic's next game, against the Canterbury Tactix in Mt Maunganui on Monday night.
Originally it was thought her injury was an abdominal strain as she couldn't reach across her body without pain.
But Waitapu said after looking at the game again she saw the injury occurred when her hip collided with that of the Fever's Ashleigh Brazill when they both went for a ball, and it was diagnosed as bruising on the bone.
After feeling a jarring pain when she ran, Waitapu said the hip is now good, though a stray Casey Kopua (nee Williams) elbow at Wednesday's training session threatened to worsen it.
"I felt it for about 30 seconds but then it was gone again, so I think we're good," Waitapu said.
"I think if I get hit there I'm going to feel it, but I just need to forget about that and just get on with the job. At least I know that it is just bruising on the bone and it's not like a pulled muscle or anything."
Waitapu said the increased combative nature they faced against the Fever was probably the way netball was heading.
With the New Zealand sides tending to mark space more than the player, she believed the Tactix's physicality would be more "patchy"
"But they do have some players in there that I know will ride you hard and make you work for every ball."
- Waikato Times
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