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Shorter netball shooters still valued

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Tall shooting combinations are starting to become a regular feature of international netball, but Diamonds goal attack Natalie Medhurst insists there's no danger shorter players will get squeezed out.

Australia fielded possibly their tallest ever starting shooting combination in last Sunday's opening Constellation Cup Test in Sydney, with the 193cm-tall and established star Caitlin Bassett joined by emerging talent Gretel Tippett, 192cm tall.

Between them they landed their first 29 attempts at goal, until Tippett missed one shortly before halftime.

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander has usually favoured a more conventional paring, teaming Bassett with the 175cm-tall Medhurst.

"The message travels a lot quicker for us shorter players, so we're the smart ones, that's what I always say," Medhurst quipped.

"Those tall shooters, I see what they cop from the defences, they certainly get manhandled.

"Certainly small, smart, crafty players are not going to get phased out of our game, that's for sure."

While Alexander hinted at more opportunities for Tippett, Medhurst is Australia's most proven goal attack.

She will become the seventh most capped Diamond ever if she plays in the second Constellation Cup Test on Wednesday in Launceston.

Poised to win her 85th cap, 32-year-old Medhurst won back-to-back player of the match awards in last month's Quad Series.

New Zealand's circle defenders were giving away significant height to Bassett and Tippett in Sydney.

Silver Ferns captain and 186cm goal defence Katrina Grant said two tall shooters were tough to mark.

"It definitely seems to be the way the game is going, bringing in all these tall players," Grant said.

"You used to only see it in the goal shoot, you're not used to seeing that goal attack and goal shoot working together so tall.

"That's on us to really grind them down and work on how to make them make mistakes."

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