17 Oct 2019

All Black legend helps Australia to netball win

10:53 am on 17 October 2019

The Australian netball coach Lisa Alexander has credited an All Black legend for helping them to victory in the second game of the Constellation Cup series against the Silver Ferns in Auckland.

Richie McCaw at the opening of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Richie McCaw Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Alexander was able to celebrate her 100th Test in charge of the Diamonds with a 48-42 win that levels the four game series.

Alexander wanted to do something a bit different in the build-up to the game and revealed the Diamonds got a bit of inspiration from a former All Blacks captain.

"Don't tell them but we had a look at Riche McCaw's movie we had a little clip of that when he talks about the moments and when the forensic psychiatrist talks about how we worked with Richie and we were very struck by that by how very inspirational that is."

The Ferns had edged Australia in their previous two clashes, including a heartbreaking one-goal loss in the World Cup final.

Those defeats, and the magnitude of Alexander's personal milestone, prompted a switch-up.

"I actually threw out the script to my pre-game," Alexander said.

"And they were all looking at me. Especially C-Bass (captain Caitlin Bassett) as she's seen every one.

"I did something different because I wanted to demonstrate to the players that they needed to be brave out there and I had to be brave too."

Australia netball coach Lisa Alexander

Lisa Alexander Photo: Photosport

Alexander took the tone down.

"I didn't want the players thinking 'Oh we have to play well for Lisa'. No," she said.

"You have to play well, because it's important for Australia.

"That's very heartfelt to me because I didn't play for Australia so I want them to make sure they take every opportunity to put everything into every match.

"So I did a poem in the rooms and I did a meditation... a breathing technique and centering. Just talking about a few things that are really positive, because that's what you have to get you have to get that positive mindset to perform.

"And we actually were inspired by... and don't tell (the Silver Ferns) that, Ritchie McCaw's movie.

"We had a little clip of that too, when he talks about the moments... we're very struck by that. You know how inspirational that is to us."

The motivations certainly worked.

Gretel Tippett was an all-action goal attack, ably supported by Bassett and Tegan Philip, while Courtney Bruce was the star of the showdown with five intercepts.

The series now heads to Australia for two matches with the Cup on the Diamonds' terms.

"We've put ourselves into a great position for this for the rest of the series," Alexander said.

"We can go home and land and feel like winners."


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