Geitz set for van Dyke challenge
LAURA Geitz will have no trouble handling the world's best shooter, New Zealand star Irene van Dyk, in the Commonwealth Games netball gold medal match tonight, according to her Queensland Firebirds team-mate Clare McMeniman.
McMeniman, the Firebirds vice-captain, and Geitz played together in a bronze medal-winning side at the World Youth Championships and for the AIS Darters and Queensland Firebirds.
“Any time Laura has marked Irene, she has made an impact,” McMeniman said.
“Laura matches up against her so well.”
Van Dyk has played 186 internationals in the past 16 seasons, 72 for the country of her birth, South Africa, and 114 for New Zealand.
Her accurate shooting is a feature of her game and she has shot at 92.8, 93.5 and 92.8 per cent accuracy in the past three years landing more than 1500 goals for New Zealand.
At 38 years of age, she is 16 years older than Geitz.
While there will be lots of support from her hometown Allora for Geitz tonight, plenty of her mates from her school days at Allora State School and The Scots PGC College will be hoping they can claim a connection to a gold medallist by 7.30 tonight.
While McMeniman has no inside news on the likely Australian Diamonds starting seven for the gold medal match, the odds are coach Norma Plummer will retain Geitz at goal keeper after she was outstanding in the semi-final victory against England.
Van Dyke might be closer to 40 than 35 in age but McMeniman sees no sign of a player regarded as the world's best shooter losing her touch.
“The longer she plays for New Zealand (formerly from South Africa), the more she is able to develop combinations within the team,” McMeniman said.
“Laura had an excellent game against England with some excellent one-on-one defence and critical touches,” McMeniman said.
“She showed composure which is what you want in defence.”
Home in Allora, Juanita Geitz isn't worried about the likely challenge tonight for her daughter.
“We watched Laura play well against Irene in an international a couple of days before her 21st birthday in November, 2008,” Juanita said.
“She will be no more nervous matching Irene than any other player.
“Irene kisses her opponent before the game, plays hard and then kisses her opponent after the game, she is a gracious player.
“Laura likes Irene as a person, she (van Dyke) is a good sport.”
McMeniman said the gold medal match should be exciting for the girls and the fans.
“I will be watching all the Firebirds players in the team, I am proud of what they are doing on court” she said.
“I want our players to succeed and come back as better players for the Firebirds next season.”
Diamonds players are told the starting seven for matches at a team meeting two or three hours before the match.
The Geitz family received a text message from their daughter at 3pm Tuesday with the good news she would start in the semi final against England.
Yesterday, Channel 10 in Brisbane confirmed the gold medal game between Australia and New Zealand in Delhi would start at 6 tonight. It is likely the game will be shown live.
READ MORE ...