World’s second best happily benched
DIAMONDS sharpshooter Caitlin Thwaites has hit a perfect 63 shots from 63 attempts in Australia's opening pool matches at the Commonwealth Games.
But she is next to no chance of starting in netball's gold medal match next Sunday.
And Thwaites is more than happy with her fate as the Diamonds' approach on the Gold Coast is to hunt glory as a 12-strong pack.
Thwaites is arguably the second-best goal shooter on the planet. The world's best goalscoring machine just happens to be her teammate and Australian captain Caitlin Bassett.
The Diamonds take on South Africa at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Sunday night and Thwaites is ready, willing and able to continue her role as the best bench weapon at the Games.
She knocked down 39 shots in the second half of the 94-26 win over Northern Ireland on Thursday night and played the first half in the 79-24 victory over Barbados on Friday night when she finished with 24 goals before handing over to Bassett at halftime.
"I'm just doing what every goal shooter aims to do every game but it's just very rare that you achieve that. I just don't want to jinx myself now,'' Thwaites said.
"It's a great environment to be a part of at the Diamonds. The culture of the team and the depth of talent that we've got across all positions is just amazing and means we have a real team-first mentality.
"Everybody is happy to play whatever role they are given. It could be to start or be an impact player off the bench. Everybody wants to contribute any way they can which has taken the team to another level."
Thwaites says playing in the same squad as Bassett at international level since 2012 has elevated both her game and the game of her skipper.
"We support each other. Getting out there and doing my best pushes her and C-Bass doing her best pushes me,'' she said.
"It's a good relationship that we've got."
Thwaites said while the Diamonds have been dominant in their opening pool matches, there was always room to finetune moving into the business end of the tournament where Australia is gunning for a fourth netball gold medal.
"We probably have a couple of little patches where we fade out a little and aren't as clinical as we can be,'' Thwaites said.