Commonwealth Games Hadley hurt in Australian Games victory over South Africa

Center Paige Hadley has shocked Australia’s Commonwealth Games netball campaign after aggravating her injured calf muscle.

Hadley stumbled away in the second quarter of Monday’s 74-49 win over South Africa.

She spent the rest of the game on the bench with ice on the calf.

Coach Stacey Marinkovich was unaware of the extent of the injury in the immediate aftermath.

“Obviously she’s pinched her calf — we’ll see what the outcome is. The medical staff will work through it and then we’ll go over our plans to make her recovery go well,” Marinkovich said.

“It gnaws in the background, it’s one where we just have to make progress.

“Everything looked very, very good. She felt good, you could see she was moving really well, she was playing well.

“Now we just need to figure out what that rehabilitation program looks like.”

Ideally, Hadley is in Australia’s starting seven.

But first she injured her calf in a pre-Games camp and then was out of the opening group game against Barbados, before playing limited minutes against Scotland.

Hadley tried to step up by starting against South Africa, but now it is unclear when she will return to the Diamonds lineup.

There doesn’t seem to be any chance she will play against Wales on Tuesday.

“She’s just working through it. Once we really know what it is and the magnitude of it, she’ll handle that well,” Marinkovich said.

If Hadley’s injury is serious, Marinkovich should consider what that means for the Australian midfield rotation.

“The girls really understand the roles they have to play there and that was part of the selection process,” she said.

“You have to make sure, whether it’s COVID, whether it’s an injury, whether it’s illness, you can cover everyone at any time.

“We have good strength and depth.”

South Africa was a tougher opponent for Australia after the Diamonds traveled to victory in their first two pool games.

“There’s a lot to love about how we had to improve our performance,” said Marinkovich.

Captain Liz Watson on wing attack was the only Australian to play the entire game, while gunner Gretel Bueta scored 34 goals with 100 per cent accuracy.

“I have versatility in the squad and to score so many goals against South Africa we showed that we also have good versatility,” said Marinkovich.

“There are some combinations that I want to look at tomorrow against another competition.”

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