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PREVIEW: Aussie netball

Posted: 13-Jul-2013 by Maccabi National

For decades, the words Netball, Australia and gold have gone hand in hand.

At the 19th Maccabiah Games, the Australian Women’s Open and Junior Netball teams will attempt to retain the gold medals won four years ago.

The four-team competition will see reigning champions Australia take on 2009 silver medalists Great Britain, 2009 bronze medalists Israel and Maccabiah netball debutants South Africa. The round robin competition will see each team play each other twice, with the top two placed sides to compete in the final on July 28th.

Led by Victorian Netball League coach and Australian Diamonds Performance Analayst Lyndell Bruce, the Open team kick-start their 2013 Maccabiah campaign with an opening round clash against South Africa on July 21st at the Maccabiah Netball home, AVIV Hall – Ra’anana.

Lyndell has worked tirelessly with the group, scheduling training weekends and rigorous daily fitness regimes to ensure her team is prepared to do battle in Israel for ultimate glory, a gold medal.

“We're heading to Israel with the aim of retaining the gold medal won four years ago. All players have been training hard in the lead up both individually and as a team. We're expecting strong competition in Israel from all the participating countries, so it will be imperative that we do everything off court such as hydration, nutrition and recovery to ensure all players are still feeling fresh towards the end of competition, “ Lyndell said.

Bruce has put an emphasis on teamwork, ensuring the Melbourne-based players compete weekly in a Monday A-Grade competition at the State Netball Hockey Centre, while the Sydney-based athletes compete together every weekend. This unity will ensure the teams' strategies are well in place before landing in Tel Aviv on July 11 for pre-camp.

The Open team enter the competition as a balanced outfit, sharing a mix of experience and those who have come through the Junior Maccabiah program with gold medal success in 2009.

Lainie Bejer is the sole member of the 2009 gold medal winning Australian team and will play alongside 2009 Junior gold medal winners Manthy Gentin, Ashleigh Werner and Shayna Slotar.

Lyndell adds: “having a number of players who have been to Maccabiah before will assist us on and off court. They will bring with them the experience of the previous games and playing in finals matches. In addition, they will have knowledge of some of the opposition players which will assist in our planning.”

Sibling rivalry will be put aside as sisters Vanessa (Open) & Hayley (Junior) Mrocki and Manthy (Open) & Abbie Gentin (Junior) attempt to bring home double gold for Australia.

Australian Junior Coach Kerry Lambley will use her 36 years of coaching experience to drive this young crop of stars to emulate the gold medal success of their 2009 counterparts.

The Australian Junior team includes exceptional talent across the court, boasting current Regional and District representatives in Perth (Gina Steinberg & Eliza Sharbanee), Melbourne (Hayley Mrocki) and Sydney (Taryn Levin).

The junior team competition involves the same four countries and follows the same round robin format as the Open competition.

The Junior team begin their 2013 campaign against 2009 grand finalist and arch rival Great Britain on July 21st.

The Junior Final will be the curtain-raiser to the Open Final on July 28.

By Josh Givoni, Maccabi Australia media team

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