sports gazette

Netball Quad Series: Geva Mentor feeling optimistic

Published: 5 Feb 2017

England delivered one of their best performances in years in a heart-breaking 47-46 defeat to world number ones Australia.

Following Thursday's disappointing loss to New Zealand, the Roses were resilient, energetic and spirited against the Diamonds as they came from behind to lead 36-34 going into the final quarter.

After a long team debrief, goalkeeper Geva Mentor spoke to Sports Gazette about the outcome.

She said: "It's one of those where it's just so close yet so far.

"I think I'm just really happy that the girls responded well and came out really strong tonight.

"In each quarter we were able to put in a good performance albeit not get the result we wanted in the end."

The atmosphere inside the SSE Arena was both electrifying and unbelievably tense, especially in the closing stages.

Mentor made it clear that there was only one thing on her mind as the Roses sought to snatch a win.

She said: "Just get ball. As a defender, it's just about trying to get my hands on the ball and giving the shooters as much opportunity as we can.

"We were able to turnover right at the last minute but the clock just got the better of us in the end.

"But it was a really hard fought game."

Mentor fully believes that the squad are moving in the right direction in the build-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 World Cup.

And there are lessons for the Roses to take from their overall display at the Quad Series.

She said: "I think for us it's just learning from the little things.

"When Australia made those changes we didn't adapt quick enough. They got a few runs on us and we had to respond.

"I think that's the promising thing that we were able to actually respond and then get ourselves back in it."

The Sunshine Coast Lightning player exuded composure, class and quality throughout the four quarters and rightfully received the award for player of the match.

She formed a strong defensive unit with captain Ama Agbeze and Beth Cobden and was full of praise for the pair.

She said: "I thought Ama and Beth did really well out in front of me and I think Ama particularly her through court attack was fantastic and really set the tone for us.

"I mean we haven't been together that long although we've been working really hard individually with our [club] teams so these last few weeks have been about building the combinations and I think they're really starting to come now.

"We know we're not there; we hope there's still more to come.

"I think it's just great to be able to put that performance out against the world number one but we can still improve more."

The Roses' performance will fill England fans with real optimism and Mentor paid tribute to their impact on rousing the team.

She said: "The crowd were fantastic. If we can take them up to Liverpool with us, it would be absolutely wonderful in 2019.

But she refuses to get ahead of herself and look too far in the future.

She said: "I mean small steps for us - it's about now going away and doing what we need to do at club level, making sure that we don't go backwards and we keep progressing forwards so when we come back as a team and unite, we're able to continue the good work."

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