Reply To: HISTORY OF THE NETBALL WORLD CUP2020-04-10T17:13:00+10:00


Ian Harkin
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    From ABC Grandstand
    World Cup Final Photo Gallery – Getty Images


    Australia’s Diamonds sink New Zealand in final, winning 58-55
    ABC Sport

    Australia has won its third-straight Netball World Cup with a 58-55 win over New Zealand in the final. The pressure was on the Diamonds to retain their title after losing to their trans-Tasman rivals in the pool stage but the decider was a different story.

    Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander and Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu kept the faith in their starting semi-final line-ups and proceedings kicked off at a rapid pace. Playing in front of a world-record crowd of 16,752, Australia broke the first centre pass in the third minute and capitalised on the momentum, shooting a perfect 16/16 to take a nine-goal lead into the first break.

    Diamonds centre Kim Green told Grandstand the plan was always to try to run New Zealand off the court early. “Lisa said to put on the thigh burners and make sure that we are just relentless, we’re just having that resistant pressure the whole way down the court and we really set ourselves up in that first quarter,” she said. “It’s a shame that we weren’t able to pull through for the other three quarters and keep building on that. But to get a start like that is critical in any game but in a World Cup, it’s definitely something that we were focusing on.”

    Already tired coming into their eighth game in 10 days, the energy expended in the opening stanza appeared to take a toll on the Australian team as the rest of the game was far more of a contest. A pair of misses by shooter Caitlin Bassett were the only blemishes in the circle as Australia led 30-22 at half-time while the Silver Ferns’ reliance on goal-attack Maria Tutaia (38/53) proved costly as she struggled from the edge of the circle.

    They went into the main break having missed nine of their 31 attempts but zeroed in after the half and the gap was shortened to six goals heading into the last quarter. Tutaia did put away a few signature long bombs but her efforts were offset by a brutal display from Diamonds captain Laura Geitz and retiring goal-defence Julie Corletto. The Diamonds maintained at least a five-goal advantage until the final minute, when a run from New Zealand made for a nervy finish, but the hosts held on for victory.

    “To finish like that in front of our home crowd, to have family here and to play with that particular group of girls, to play with Julie Corletto, it’s wonderful to step into the defensive circle with such a wonderful athlete,” Geitz said. “World Cup netball, that’s what it comes down to — hard work and just grinding away. Our attackers were just sensational and capitalised on every tip and touch that we got and the first quarter set us up nicely.”

    Bassett shot 48/51 while West Coast Fever team-mate Natalie Medhurst landed 10 of her 13 attempts and had 16 assists. “The drive to the circle was amazing,” Bassett said. “The girls were bringing the ball down really quickly and Nat did a great job in keeping goal-defence busy which kept me in a one-on-one situation, which was perfect.”

    New Zealand has not claimed the world title since 2003 in Jamaica and has lost four of the past five World Cup finals. England beat Jamaica 66-44 in the bronze-medal match earlier in the day.

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