Score more goals. Check. All 12 players getting game time again. Check. Convincing performance? Not entirely.
Although national netball coach Ruth Aitken had two reasons to smile after her Singapore side demolished debutants Vietnam 84-8 in their second Group A fixture in the Mission Foods Asian Netball Championships yesterday, there were certain aspects of their performance that left room for concern.
While the reigning champions scored 17 more goals than in the opening 67-13 victory against Japan, their play looked disjointed at times against a Vietnam side who had no prior experience on the international stage.
Said Aitken: "You have to appreciate that Vietnam were learning as they went on in the game and improved after realising there were things they could do to trouble others.
"That, and the fact that we were constantly bringing players into the game, (a move) which always takes time to set in, was probably why we played the way we did."
Added goal defender Premila Hirubalan, the most experienced player in the team with 87 caps: "We played well in the first quarter but got complacent after that and took our foot off the pedal.
"That allowed them to dictate the tempo at times, and we were playing into their hands when we needed to be the ones controlling play."
Indeed, for all of Singapore's domination, the lapses in control allowed Vietnam a chance to reduce the hosts' winning margin over the middle two quarters.
With captain Lin Qingyi and Premila in defence, the Republic raced to a 27-0 lead in the first quarter. But Lin's withdrawal coincided with a comparative dip in the Republic's performance over the second and third quarters.
They took the second quarter 19-2 and the third 17-4. But when Lin came back into goal defence at the start of the final quarter, her side won the term 21-2.
Despite admitting that her team needs to "adapt quicker whenever changes are introduced into the side", the national skipper is not bothered by the inconsistency just yet.
"On paper, these are the two easier games so it was the best time to identify the errors in our play and iron them out, while also giving all the girls a run out on the new court.
"Starting from Hong Kong, our next opponents who will be a tougher nut to crack, we need to be at our best and these games will help us be prepared for them.
"After all, the last few games are the ones that really matter."
Lin also revealed that the team are trying to add more height into their attack, as 1.96m goalkeeper Chen Lili - the tallest player in the squad - was tried out as a goal shooter in the last quarter.
"We need her at the back still but she will offer a much-needed alternative up front if we ever need to shake things up."
This article was first published on September 09, 2014.
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