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cheap new balance kids shoes A blueprint for gold Australia have won nine of the 12 netball world championships and two of the last three Commonwealth Games; they can draw from a playing depth up to five times greater than New Zealand; coach Norma Plummer is wily, supercompetitive and leaves no stone unturned; their historic record in close matches suggests they are not called the Diamonds for nothing, as they tend to shine brighter when matches get tighter. But are there some reasons for hope ahead of Delhi and the expected final matchup between Australia and New Zealand? While not easy to find, there are some potential Australian weaknesses. The 1.96m defender Susan Fuhrmann made a huge impact in the first test in Adelaide, coming off the bench to shut down Irene van Dyk and limiting her to four shots (and just two goals) in the final 15 minutes. Fuhrman was less effective in the 19goal Wellington drubbing but returned to rattle van Dyk managing a couple of rare blocks in the deciding third test in Auckland. Fuhrman is 6cm taller than van Dyk and Plummer took great delight in drily reminding everyone that "Irene has probably never had to look anyone in the eye before". But Fuhrman has her limitations. Southern Steel coach Robyn Broughton says the giant West Australian should be respected but not feared. "She can guard the shot but has little lateral or vertical jump ability. She's not getting off the ground, so we should be able to get the ball over her." Broughton says Fuhrman rarely comes for any intercepts or tips which means, if they get their accuracy right, the Ferns can feel secure in their longpassing game. "She is dangerous on rebounds and picked up a few loose balls but generally is only a threat in the circle." Attacking the wings If there is one area where the muchvaunted depth of the Australians does not quite stack up, it is at wing attack. Lauren Nourse, seen by some as a surprise inclusion in Plummer's final squad, had a mixed Constellation Cup series. The Firebirds captain is solid but vulnerable under pressure. Broughton observed that Nourse struggled, especially in Auckland, feeding to her shooters and "threw a lot of ball away". Madison Browne was one of the most impressive wing attacks in the ANZ Championship but didn't make the final cut into the Diamonds after their extended fiveweek selection camp. Nourse is usually centre for the Firebirds and can look uncomfortable in the wider position. Plummer's other option is Kimberlee Green, who was impressive in 2009 but is relatively inexperienced and was overwhelmed in the Wellington loss. Only four of their players have appeared in more than 40 internationals, compared with eight of the Silver Ferns. The Australians have an average of 36 caps per player, though this is somewhat inflated by McMahon (109) and Cox (77). The Ferns average more than 50 caps per player. For seven members of the Australian side, Delhi will be their first Commonwealth Games; whereas only four of the Ferns (Joline Henry, Liana BarrettChase, Katrina Grant and Grace Rasmussen) have never been to a Games. Sharp but small While they are fast, swift and athletic, there is a real lack of height in the Australian goal circle. Sharelle McMahon (1.77m), Susan Pratley (1.80m) and Natalie Medhurst (1.78m) are all wonderfully accurate shooters but the sameness in their stature limits their variety. "They can't change the style of their game," says Broughton. "If you have one tall shooter, you can throw in a high ball. There is only one way they will play so in theory your defence can set up easily." Veteran 1.88m shooter Catherine Cox has struggled with form and injuries recently. She shot well in the second test but was barely available as an option. The other amazons in the Australian setup, 1.92m Caitlin Bassett and 1.93m Kate Beveridge, did not make the final cut. The vertical limit in the goal circle (if Cox is taken out of the equation, the Ferns defenders are on average 10cm taller than their counterparts) also means New Zealand should have a mortgage on rebounds, which can lead to crucial two or threegoal swings. Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant says an aggressive approach will be crucial and hopes they can "monster" the Australians. But she is wary. "Knowing Norma [Plummer], I'm sure she's got a plan A, B, C and D up her sleeve and we just haven't seen it yet." Yearning for turnovers In the first and third tests, the girls in yellow and green fed off New Zealand errors which often came in large quantities at the worst possible times (fourth quarter). In Wellington, when the mistakes were at a minimum, the Diamonds struggled to claim any turnovers, particularly in the first twothirds of the court. Broughton says this is all about defensive priorities. "They haven't got a goal defence that is getting the ball," says Broughton. "Their goal defenders [Mo'onia Gerrard, Rebecca Bulley, Laura Geitz] do a lot of close mantoman marking and are good at carrying the ball through the court but they are not getting the turnovers as much as I thought they would."