8 Oct 2009

Injury woes not a problem: Aitken

8:30 am on 8 October 2009

The New Zealand netballers have a few injury niggles before Saturday's World Netball Series starts in Manchester.

Coach Ruth Aitken says they shouldn't stop anyone playing though.

Captain Casey Williams has a troublesome hamstring while midcourters Temepara George and Liana Barrett-Chase are nursing calf strains.

Her main concern is with the draw - they start with three games against Malawi, England and Jamaica on Saturday while the hosts England and Australia have two.

That late night game - New Zealand versus Jamaica - is followed by the first game of Sunday's fixtures against Australia.

The Ferns have only one more day of practice to adjust to the new rules, which include two-point goals from outside the circle and double point power play quarters, along with six-minute quarters, rolling substitutions and the centre pass going to the team which has just conceded.

Aitken says it should mean more upsets and closer contests but the Silver Ferns' game plan won't change too much even though the series is closer to indoor netball, which is new territory for Aitken.

She says she's no expert on the indoor game, which is popular here with social and mixed teams, but they'll just concentrate on not varying their normal game too much.

One variation the Ferns will try is basketball-style defensive screens to set their shooters up for the long range two-point plays.

But Aitken says they use those plays now inside the circle, it's just they may come in handy for the double pointers in this series.