Maria Folau spreads the blame for England loss

Cheree Kinnear, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 17 September 2018, 8:05PM
Maria Folau has rejected the idea that the shooters are to blame for their latest loss. (Photo / Getty)
Maria Folau has rejected the idea that the shooters are to blame for their latest loss. (Photo / Getty)

Maria Folau has defended her shooting performance during the national side's monumental loss to England on Saturday afternoon.

In their first outing since the Commonwealth Games, the Ferns went down 52-39 in the Quad Series opener at Auckland's Spark Arena - their biggest ever defeat to the Roses.

With the Katrina Grant-led defensive unit in sublime form, despite the loss of the injured Temalisi Fakahokotau, it was the ineptitude of Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio that proved most costly.

The Ferns' shooters, who had five more attempts at goal than their English rivals, made just 68 per cent of their attempts at goal - a statistic that was deemed not good enough by Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua.

But Folau, who scored from 22 of 30 attempts, insisted that the loss was due to a number of issues across the court.

"There are five other players on court that need to take responsibility for what we do," Folau told the Herald.

"We just had an off day that's all, if you look at it as a whole there were things that happened across the whole court, it is a team sport.

"As someone who's been there for a long time you're always going to feel responsible but we all feel responsible actually, the ball didn't go our way and the English defenders did a really good job at putting the pressure on us."

Folau shot alongside Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit before taking a seat on the bench in the final quarter.

Meanwhile, Bailey Mes, Maia Wilson, and debutant Aliyah Dunn all watched from the sideline raising questions about whether Taurua could introduce a fresh starting seven tomorrow night when the Ferns take on South Africa's Proteas.

Keen to continue testing and accessing her new side, Taurua didn't rule out the use of fresh legs in the shooting circle and said Saturday's loss had given her plenty to ponder.

"I think it gives us an opportunity to slightly tweak some of the combinations," Taurua said, "I was very clear about what England posed plus also I really want to build a spine in the team."

"I'm getting clearer on where those positions are and the personnel within those roles.

"I'd love to get everybody on, it has always been the intention over Quad and also the Constellation Cup that I give opportunities to players."

The Ferns had one training session this morning ahead of tomorrow's game which focused heavily on reviewing what went wrong during Saturday's disappointing loss.

Adamant that the Ferns' rough start was just a bad day at the office, Folau was optimistic about the remainder of the series.

"I think there were some great things out on court considering all the changes, brand new team, brand new coach ... although the loss was very rough we know that it's just the beginning."

"We've just got to get on with it, we're allowed to have an off day on court, everybody has their off days ... we know that we can do a lot better."