Fijians lift play

THE Digicel/Punjas Fiji netball side stepped up its game in the International Series to beat Singapore 63-31 in their second match at the Vodafone Arena in Suva last night.

After a lacklustre performance against the Papua New Guinea One side on Friday, the Kate Carpenter-coached side put on a much improved performance against the Asian giants.

Carpenter made a couple of changes in her starting line-up moving skipper Mere Neiliko to goal defence while sticking with youngster Episake Kahatoka at goal keeper.

Teimumu Vukinavanua started at wing defence while Alesi Waqa was at wing attack.

Carpenter started with the swift Vaiti Waqatabu at centre, Afa Rusivakula as goal attack and Taraima Mitchell in the circle.

Fiji took an early lead racing to 16-9 at the end of the opening quarter.

Singapore shooters Charmaine Soh and Pamela Liew started posing threat in the second quarter.

Carpenter brought in Raijeli Daveua midway the quarter and she combined beautifully with Kahatoka in defence to contain the sharp shooters.

Fiji extended its lead to 35-15 at the break.

Maria Lutua and newcomers Sereana Maragi and Alisi Naqiri came on in the second spell as the national side maintained its lead on 48-24 at the end of the third quarter before sealing the 63-31 win.

Carpenter said while there were still areas of concern, yesterday’s performance was a better one.

“It was just a cleaner match today (yesterday) and again same opportunities to give athletes time on court. For some girls it was the first time to play an Asian side,” Carpenter said.

Singapore coach Ruth Aitken said basic errors let them down.

“We were hoping it (points) would be closer but I know Fiji is real step up for us.

“Once again we made a lot of changes and got a lot of players on court,” Aitken said.

“There were times where I thought we competed strongly but we were just not consistent enough at this level.”

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