The Silver Ferns are wilting in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and it seems to some that a lack of development of shooters in New Zealand is the primary cause of the Ferns’ woes.
The Ferns lost 54 – 45 in their final pool match and the outcome is likely to see them thrown in against the undefeated Australian Diamonds.
In the game with England, New Zealand had a shooting percentage of just 63 percent. They had just one less attempt than the Roses, but the Roses were far more efficient, converting 86 percent of their chances.
Such has been the case for the entire tournament. The Silver Ferns play completely adequate defense and causing plenty of turnovers by the other teams against which they have played, but a 63 percent conversion rate will not win much metal.
The Ferns have converted 79 percent, going 292 for 368. Player Bailey Mes has the rather dismal percentage of 64 as the worst shooter on the side.
The Kiwis have somehow managed to remain in second position in their pool and though they are tied with Uganda and Malawi, it is only their plus 57-goal advantage over the other two that has them preparing to advance to a game with the Diamonds.
For sake of comparison, the Aussies have missed just 20 attempts for the entire tournament.
A too heavy reliance on imports for play at the franchise level has come back to haunt the Ferns. There was a point when 60 percent of the Kiwi franchises in the trans-Tasman league were from overseas.
More Kiwi women need to be developed to wear the shooting bib rather than serving in reserve roles in a misguided attempt to learn at the feet of the internationals.
The Silver Ferns have been in much the same predicament since all-time great shooter Irene van Dyk stopped playing international netball in 2014. Maria Folau, on whom the Ferns have relied on since Dyk’s retirement, is close to calling time on her career, so the Silver Ferns desperately need to develop some shooters, sooner, rather than later.