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We’ve Our Targets: Wilson

The Fijian Pearls losses at the Taini Jamison Trophy, is something to be expected. That was the gist of Fijian Pearls head coach Vicki Wilson’s message when interviewed by Radio
25 Mar 2018 11:09
We’ve Our Targets: Wilson
Fijian Pearls goalkeeper Episake Kahatoka defends against the New Zealand Silver Ferns at the North Shore Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on March 23, 2018. Photo: Stuff

The Fijian Pearls losses at the Taini Jamison Trophy, is something to be expected. That was the gist of Fijian Pearls head coach Vicki Wilson’s message when interviewed by Radio New Zealand.

With growth and development, Fiji’s goal at the tournament, Wilson says, is an education for her players especially playing the New Zealand’s Silver Ferns where they were wal­loped 88-27.

“We hope that we provided them a chal­lenge,” Wilson said.

“But we are very much aware of the terrific skill and the fitness level that the Ferns bring to the international game.

“So for each individual they have their tar­gets and what they will be attempting to do. We want them to ensure that they come off the court knowing that they tried everything possible. And maybe have picked up a few tips along the way and tricks on how to be better.”

Ranked 12th in the world, Fiji have proven to being the weakest team of this year’s four-team tournament.

They were thrashed by both Malawi and Ja­maica in their first two fixtures of the series, and have never beaten the Silver Ferns.

WHAT HAPPENED

Comparatively, Fiji simply couldn’t com­pete with New Zealand, whose poor start was never going to deny them a massive margin of victory. The Ferns opened the first quarter with sloppy and error-ridden play, giving Fiji an extremely brief taste of success.

Maria Folau, who sat out Thursday night’s game due to a knee complaint, was back in the circle, joined by Ameliaranne Ekenasio.

The usually strong shooting duo struggled to score in the first two quarters and were only able to hit at a 79 per cent clip.

Fortunately for the Ferns, they quickly picked up their pace in both attack and de­fence, soaring to a 25-point lead by halftime.

Defender Kayla Cullen was welcomed back in the action for three quarters of the match. After suffering a knee injury, Cullen was not expected to take part in the four-day series at all, however, the 26-year-old made a swift recovery to return to the squad, and comfort­ably controlled the centre court while moving the ball swiftly from defence to attack.

Newcomer Michaela Sokolich-Beatson made her second appearance for the Silver Ferns at goal defence in the third quarter, relieving Katrina Grant, who had so far played the en­tire series.

Sokolich-Beatson defended alongside the feisty Temalisi Fakahokotau to hone the pres­sure on Fijian shooters Maliana Rusivakula and Alesi Paul, who increasingly struggled to score.

At the other end, Ekenasio poured in 56 goals on 70 attempts, as the Ferns won the second half 47-11, to take the 61-goal win.

Earlier in the evening, Jamaica claimed their third straight victory of the series, beat­ing Malawi 66-55.

LINE-UP

Silver Ferns: Katrina Grant, Maria Folau, Kayla Cullen, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Te­malisi Fakahokotau, Shannon Francois, Kelly Jury, Grace Kara, Bailey Mes, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Samantha Sinclair, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson.

Pearls: Maliana Rusivakula, Alesi Paul, Nina Cirikisuva, Aliso Galo, Lusiani Rokoura, Ali­si Naqiri, Episake Kahatoka, Afa Rusivakula,

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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