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Reply To: HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2020-04-09T14:07:14+10:00
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    Rookie goal crushes Ferns
    Linda Pearce

    CAITLIN Bassett realised that the goal she missed at the end of regular time in the latest dramatic instalment of the Australia-New Zealand rivalry would have clinched the Diamonds’ 10th world championship; what the young goaler did not know, happily, was that her final shot at the end of overtime would win the title.

    ”I thought it was just to equalise the game, so to find out it was the game-winning goal, oh my god. I’m glad I didn’t know that,” Bassett said later. ”I was really devastated after I missed that first one. I’m going to go home and practise my shooting every single second of every day. I’m so glad I got a second chance to take that shot again. I knew I had to really focus and steady.”

    It was, in many ways, a reprise of last year’s epic Commonwealth Games gold medal game won in double extra-time by New Zealand, except that it was Australia’s revenge, and incredibly sweet. The Silver Ferns led by six goals at half-time before coach Norma Plummer introduced Bassett and goal keeper Laura Geitz in a necessary pair of moves that changed the game. Teams that were locked at 46-46 after 60 minutes were finally split after a further 14.

    Kiwi goal attack Maria Tutaia had nailed the winning goal in Delhi, but last night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium fluffed the attempt in the final minute that would have sealed back-to-back victories. Australia then swept the ball down court to Bassett, the gangly 23-year-old playing just her 11th Test. Game over. Title safely defended. Jubilation. Tears. Vindication.

    ”It was from devastation to elation,” said Plummer after what may have been her last international game, the dual championship-winning coach having accepted the position with West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championship. ”This one we had a lot of younger players, you’ve got all of the new ones in there, first world championships, some of them getting their first caps. The exuberance, it’s just the sensational feeling within the team that some of these young ones brought.

    ”I said to them today, ‘for the older players you’ve brought back what it’s all about’, because they’re all so excited about every single thing. The new ones coming in they bring back the freshness, and I think that’s just added such a bonus to us, they just wanted it so much for one another.”

    Plummer predicted a bright future for the revamped team, which had lost captain Sharelle McMahon in the months leading up to a tournament that New Zealand had entered as favourite. ”The squad won’t change, even if I’m not leading it, until after another selection,” she said. ”But I don’t think they’ll be throwing away the baby with the bathwater; there’s some great talent in that group now.”

    Player-of-the-match Natalie Medhurst was one of just five players left from the 2007 champion team, and paid tribute to her young shooting partner. ”I’m so proud of Caitlin. She almost nearly got it for us in full-time and just missed the goal, and to go into overtime and to score that crucial goal – it’s just absolutely unbelievable.”

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