Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Grant happy to wait for court time

Silver Ferns defender will keep working on her game as she continues her battle with de Bruin for a starting spot.

Katrina Grant is a member of the Silver Ferns defensive unit which will be tested on Friday. Photo / Getty Images
Katrina Grant is a member of the Silver Ferns defensive unit which will be tested on Friday. Photo / Getty Images

Depth is a key indication of a sports team's strength, which is why Katrina Grant is happy to wait her turn for court time this season with the Silver Ferns.

The New Zealanders are spoilt for choice when it comes to their defensive circle.

Skipper Casey Kopua is the first name on the team sheet for the Ferns but they also boast veteran Leana de Bruin and Central Pulse captain Grant, which leaves two players scrapping for the final spot to play alongside Kopua.

During the Silver Ferns' 47-45 Constellation Cup loss against Australia at Vector Arena 12 days ago, Grant didn't even see the court.

That's the same Katrina Grant, who was in the top five of this year's ANZ Championship for intercepts and deflections.

Grant and de Bruin split court time in New Zealand's 55-51 game one win in Invercargill on September 15 but the latter won the starting bib for the second outing and didn't give it up as she tried to contain Australian shooter Caitlin Bassett.

Grant said she couldn't argue with Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu's decision to leave the 36-year-old de Bruin out there.

"Our defensive end, I thought, picked up some great ball and she did a great job on Caitlin; she just shut her down that little bit more with what we had been working on in training so she deserved to stay on for the whole game," Grant said of her teammate.

"So now I've got to work my butt off to try and get back on there. The next few training games will be quite difficult but it doesn't matter who gets on court, as long as we win. I just like to win."

That's the problem, though. Grant played in game one, when the Ferns did win.

Which brings us to this week and with the Constellation Cup poised at 1-1, the series moves to Australia where the Diamonds have home-court advantage for the next three games.

The Silver Ferns assembled in Auckland yesterday and were due to fly to Adelaide this morning.

The next game in the Constellation Cup is in Adelaide on Friday and looms as a pivotal encounter, given a 2-1 deficit would be hard to overhaul for either side.

In another nod to the strength of the Silver Ferns' defensive circle, Taumaunu has left out goal defence Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit for the trip to Australia and brought in Shannon Francois to bolster the mid-court options.

On the subject of depth, Grant, 26, said it was a good thing for the side.

"It means at trainings you train that little bit harder because competition's always a good thing in the team and it ups the intensity at training and ups the quality of how well we go and that's only got to be a good thing for a team."

After Friday's test in South Australia, the series moves to Melbourne for game four on Monday before wrapping up next Sunday in Canberra.

Silver Ferns

Casey Kopua (c), Laura Langman (vice-captain), Jodi Brown, Leana de Bruin, Shannon Francois, Katrina Grant, Joline Henry, Cathrine Latu, Courtney Tairi, Anna Thompson, Maria Tutaia, Irene van Dyk


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