Sport

Lack of concentration led to Girls' downfall, says Molly Rhone

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — Former netball Jamaica president Molly Rhone says lack of concentration is the major reason for the Sunshine Girls' capitulation at the Netball World Cup.

World number two-ranked Jamaica comfortably beat Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago to start their 2019 tournament campaign, but suffered successive losses to South Africa and England, derailing their medal hopes.

Rhone, the outgoing International Netball Federation president, missed some of the action due to illness, but recovered in time to pick up areas of concern.

“I've seen parts of some games; I saw a part of the game between Jamaica and South Africa which really surprised. South Africa really played well [but] I don't believe Jamaica was at its best in any case,” the former national player told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“You have to be able to concentrate for the full one hour. I think that's a problem we've had over the years — that's keeping the concentration that is required at this level.

“They have to be able to concentrate all the time. The problem I see is that usually when we [benefit from] a turnover, which is what we should capitalise on, invariably that ball goes awry and I'm saying 'Oh, my goodness!'”

In losing 52-55 to world number five South Africa on Sunday and 48-56 to third-ranked England a day later, Jamaica lacked the movement and incisive passing to consistently unlock their opponents' defence.

“I didn't see the smooth, flowing play that I saw South Africa doing, and which we are noted for. The co-ordination wasn't as I would have liked to have seen it. And then, of course, I saw the game against England which they knew would have been a hard game. There again I still didn't see that co-ordination that I would have wanted to have seen.

“I don't know if they were a little tired, I don't know if the combinations had practised together; it's really not for me to judge. But looking on I didn't see the free-flowing game that we are accustomed to, and what I should have been seeing at this level,” she reasoned.

Rhone, who demits office as world netball boss on July 21, coinciding with the final day of World Cup action, said chemistry and depth appeared lacking.

“We didn't practise together because some of the girls have been [playing professionally] in Australia and New Zealand. But we have to get to the point where we also have another nucleus outside of the players here.

“At home we have to build — I remember back in 2003 when you have a [strong] bench. You don't have seven players and the bench, you have 12 players, so at any time you're able to take players off the bench and you're going to get the same level of play,” she explained.

Jamaica have not missed out on the World Cup semi-finals since 1995. They won bronze in 2003 and 2007, but had to settle for fourth in 2011 and in 2015.

The veteran netball administrator, who noted that a lot has changed over the years, said she gave the team a pep talk yesterday.

“The teams are getting better and better and better, so the competition is getting harder and harder and harder. They have to get together now. I had to tell them this morning that champions, when you fall down you get back up, you don't stay down. They can't do anything about the games that have gone, but they have four games to go. So I told them to go out with a bang and make people see the mettle you're made of,” Rhone concluded.

—Sanjay Myers


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