The Silver Ferns are in a rut, but player pride isn't the problem.
After Sunday's loss to minnows Malawi, the New Zealand national netball team suffered their worst-ever defeat against England at the Commonwealth Games today.
Since the start of 2018, the Silver Ferns held a 6-6 record, with losses coming against England (2), Jamaica (2), Australia and England. The losses against Jamaica and Malawi were of particular concern to fans, with the player pride coming into question.
However, former Silver Ferns star shooter Irene van Dyk laid that notion to rest, suggesting player rotations were the area of concern.
"It's not a lack of pride. Our girls do not go out there to lose," two-time Commonwealth gold medalist said.
"I don't think at this point in time the right players play the whole game in the right positions.
"It always takes a few minutes to settle into a game. I think if we just keep the players on for a little longer, it gives them time to settle in, start humming and build connections to make things work...it will come."
The defeats against Malawi and England at the Commonwealth Games were similar, with both teams pulling away in the second half.
Down two points to England at halftime this morning, Bailey Mes (GS) and Maria Folau (GA) swapped positions, while Samantha Sinclair (WD) was moved to centre and Shannon Francois (c) changing to to wing attack.
The Silver Ferns were outscored by four goals in the third quarter and England went on to close out a nine-point win.
It was a similar case against Malawi when, after holding the lead and making a host of changes at halftime, the Silver Ferns were outscored 32-21 in the second half.
"The opposition, they analyse our players...so as soon as there are changes they can sniff; they just get to that point where they know if they can score two or three goals then they have the upper hand, and that's exactly what the opposition did to us," van Dyk said.
"I personally still think we have the players. If we keep the right players in the right positions, I think we are world beaters, honestly I do think we have the players to make it."
Since Janine Southby took over as head coach in 2016, the Ferns have shown they're capable of matching it with the best - when they get it right. Since the start of the 2016 season, the side have a 20-17 record, with two wins against Australia.
However, with a string of poor results in their recent games, Southby's future with the Ferns was being questioned. Van Dyk sympathised with Southby, and said she was in one the "loneliest job" at the moment.
"I don't know if Janine has a lot of support at the moment, I don't think she has," van Dyk said.
"The New Zealand public are very brutal when coaches do not perform and, because we've set the standard so high in previous years, a little slump like this is going to be detrimental. There's no hiding away from it - it is going to be harsh, it is going to be brutal, but I want to know what support systems have been put around Janine to help her."
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