Netball: Aussies cool under injury pressure

By Cathy Walshe

Australian coach Norma Plummer was left with her heart in her mouth at the world netball championship in Auckland today when star wing defence Selina Gilsenan went down in a crumpled heap in the second quarter of their last pool match against Scotland.

Although world champion wannabes Australia were comprehensive 93-20 winners over lowly-rated Scotland, the game was a physical one and Plummer had a couple of worrying injury scares before the final whistle blew.

Gilsenan, a key player in Australia's midcourt defence and pivotal in setting up quick attacking ball, lay prone of several minutes on the court just two minutes from halftime.

She left under her own steam, limping gingerly, and was later seen moving around on crutches.

And early in the third quarter, Plummer took no chances after centre Natalie von Bertouch took a blow to the head in a skirmish on the edge of the shooting circle.

"I thought we'd get them off, and change it up in the last quarter just to be safe," Plummer said afterwards.

"It was getting a little bit uncontrolled in some areas out there."

Plummer said Gilsenan would be assessed by medical staff before any decision was made on her availability for the quarterfinals on Thursday.

"She's yet to see the doctor, but she's a pretty tough cookie and I'd expect her to be there."

Plummer said Gilsenan's injury was a recurrence of an old one, which she said was slightly more reassuring than a new one.

"Usually if it's a brand new injury, you've got more of an issue. It's one she's done before, but I think to be precautionary we needed to get her off. It is an old one, and they're usually the easiest to get over.

"I was pleased it was an ankle - I thought she'd done her knee, that's where I was worried."

Plummer said the depth in the Australian squad meant she was able to make wholesale changes in the last quarter following von Bertouch's knock to the head, which was not expected to have any long-term effects.

"We've got the depth to move it around if we have to."

- NZPA

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