Ipswich brigade tames Kiwis
THERE can be no doubt about Australia's dominance of indoor netball and four Ipswich women are largely responsible.
Australia claimed the indoor six-a-side World Cup at Darra on June 12, beating New Zealand 60-57 in the final.
Four days later they repeated the dose in the seven-a-side version, this time beating New Zealand 56-26 in the final.
Ipswich players Brooke Dixon, Robyn Massy and Kate Sherwin were part of the Aussie women's team, coached by Ipswich's Vera De Costa.
There is a good reason for having two competitions in the one tournament.
In New Zealand indoor netball is played six-a-side, in Australia it's seven-a-side.
"It's a lot different," Australian goal-shooter and Raceview resident Brooke Dixon said.
Which means the Aussies were happy to play the less familiar form first, then switch to what they knew in the second half of the tournament.
Australia lost its first six-a-side game to New Zealand by one point, giving the Aussies the confidence to dominate their main rival from there.
"It's amazing (winning the six-a-side World Cup)," Massy said.
"It's the best feeling ever, because it's their game and we don't play it."
Adding to the satisfaction was the Aussie women's ability to overcome the roughhouse tactics of the Kiwis.
"New Zealand are so physical," defender Massy said.
"You get an elbow to the chin and an elbow to the oesophagus.
"I don't retaliate.
"Everyone can see what their doing.
"You have to stand your ground and man-up.
"We just have better skills"
Six-a-side means more running, seven-a-side means more passing and greater reliance on skill, she said.
By the time the seven-a-side rolled around, the New Zealanders were well beaten and knew it would only get tougher.
"In the sevens our team didn't really get out of second gear," Dixon said.
"We could have played a lot harder. But we still did what we had to do to win.
"Katie and Robyn played really well in the final."
Australia's other advantage came in the form of coach De Costa. "She's coached for years," Dixon said.
De Costa coached Massy in her first World Cup campaign but it was Dixon's first under the respected mentor.
"She's great," Dixon said.
"She's a really technically-minded coach who can break anything down.
"She's a hard coach who knows exactly what she needs to do to win."
Both Dixon and Massy are determined to be part of the Australian team for at least the next two years, to be part of the 2014 World Cup in England.
Don't expect them to retire then though, even if they win again.
"I love the game," 36-year-old Massy said.
"I'll play it until I can't."
The women weren't the only Ipswich stars at the World Cup with Dave Smith and Ben Upcroft part of the mixed team that won both its titles, while Brodie Bowyer was part of the team that won both under-21 women's titles.