Commonwealth Games 2022: Australia defeat England to set up final clash with Jamaica
The Australian netball team have overcome England’s home court advantage to progress to the Commonwealth Games final where they will meet the team that upset them earlier in the tournament.
It was fast and physical, with even a goalpost needing a substitution, but the Diamonds have done what many thought impossible and defeated England on their home soil to book themselves a spot in the gold medal match.
The 60-51 win is the revenge the Aussies have been waiting for after England snatched the gold medal from their hands with the final shot of the game at the Gold Coast Games four years ago.
The Aussies are now hellbent on beating Jamaica, who defeated the Diamonds for the first time ever on Thursday.
Jamaica again proved they are a major international force with a 67-51 demolition job of New Zealand to book their spot in the gold medal play off.
Diamonds took a 29-23 goal lead into the halftime break but the score didn’t reflect just how close the game was.
Had a few 50/50 calls gone the way of the home team the score could have easily been reversed.
Defender Courtney Bruce, who celebrated her 50th game today, was part of the Diamonds team that had to settle for silver four years ago - she doesn’t want to be part of it a second time.
“We’ve talked about wanting to bring home the gold and having some trophies back in the cabinet back home so that is the goal,” Bruce said.
“We’re going to go absolutely hard and hopefully we can bring home the gold medal.”
It was clear how much a chance to take on Jamaica and fight for the gold meant to both teams with the penalty count almost outnumbering the number of shots taken.
The physical game seemed to favour Diamonds in the first half, with former AFLW star Ash Brazill thriving off the niggling and flying elbows.
Roses defender Layla Guscoth found herself straddling the goalpost like a koala early in the first half, fighting to win the ball off Gretel Bueta. The post was bent off centre and needed to be replaced during a short time out.
Bueta has been a consistent shooter throughout the Games and her performance today was no different, missing just one of her 23 shots in the first half.
Despite Roses’ defender Geva Mentor having inside knowledge on Bueta after years of playing Super Netball even she couldn’t keep her grounded and away from the post.
Coach Stacey Marinkovich kept her faith in the starting seven with no subs made by the halftime break.
Diamonds were playing with just 11 on the team sheet with injured midcourter Paige Hadley once again ruled out of the game.
Diamonds lifted in the third quarter scoring 15 goals to the Roses 11 to put them ahead 44-34 at the final break.
The increasing score difference did little to silence the very vocal, 9000 plus English supporters in the stands.
Diamonds went into the final quarter determined to hold onto their lead and not repeat the drama of the final round game clash with Jamaica where they squandered a six goal lead to lose by two points.
It didn’t quite go to plan with England outsourcing the Aussies in the first five minutes of the final quarter as the Diamonds lead decreased to just seven.
Diamonds didn’t panic though sticking to their game plan and running the Roses’ circle defenders ragged.
“We lost that game for ourselves against Jamaica so I’m excited to come up against them again,” Bruce said.
The defender will be up against Super Netball teammate and super shooter Jhaniele Fowler, who didn’t miss a shot in the game against New Zealand, in the circle.
“It will be a good battle with Jhaniele, I think she got the better of me last time but it is time for me to get even,” Bruce said.
“I wouldn’t expect anything less than Jhaniele to go hard for 60 minutes and I’m going to go hard to.”
Former Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander described the Diamonds performance as “extraordinary”.
“It was symbolic that the Diamonds came out in a line of sisters in arms, it set the tone for their performance today,” Alexander said.
“They kept that togetherness through their team performance today and shut down every England foray into attack and England just didn’t have the answer.”
Alexander, who had previously had doubts over the Diamonds ability to bring home the gold, said it was now very much on the cards.
“They need to learn their lesson from what happened in the last quarter against Jamaica, they cannot underestimate them,” she said.
“We need to play the traditional style of Australian netball which has worked for the last four outings against them. They need to find a way to stop the ball getting to Jhaniele Fowler.
More Coverage‘Stuff of legends’: Aussie stuns the worldAussie perfectionist finally rises to the top
“It is definitely winnable but it is going to be hard and could even go to extra time.”
Australia will play Jamaica in the gold medal match at 5.30am on Monday (ASET).
Originally published as Commonwealth Games 2022: Australia defeat England to set up final clash with Jamaica