Australia has beaten New Zealand 58-55 to win the Netball World Cup in Sydney.
WORLD CHAMPIONS #GoldMedalMatch 杭州桑拿网,杭州夜生活,/nSfPKOst24
— Australian Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) August 16, 2015WE’VE DONE IT. WORLD CHAMPIONS! #brilliance
— Australian Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) August 16, 2015
The Diamonds were at their tenacious best in front of a world-record 16,752 home crowd at Allphones Arena on Sunday as they claimed an 11th trophy from 14 world titles and their third in a row. No one could have predicted which way this latest chapter in the sport’s fiercest rivalry would swing.
The unfancied world No.2 Silver Ferns had blown the title race wide open a week ago when they upset the defending world champions and raging favourites in pool play.
But in that match Australia’s form was patchy and here, fired up from defeat, the hosts were fluent and defensively relentless.
Both coaches kept the faith in their starting semi-final line-ups, who duly kicked off proceedings at lightning pace.
Australia broke the first centre pass in the third minute and capitalised on the momentum to lead 16-7 after the first quarter.
Usually prolific New Zealand goal attack Maria Tutaia couldn’t quite get her eye in from her favourite spot at the edge of the circle.
She did put away a few signature deadly long bombs (38 goals from 53 attempts), but her efforts were offset by a brutal display from Diamonds captain and goal keeper Laura Geitz.
Geitz was ferocious against a nervy-looking Bailey Mes, constantly in the hunt and nailing a game-high nine deflections against the flow of play, even taking out centre Laura Langman in the process.
Down the other end, West Coast Fever shooting partners Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst were near flawless despite a hustling Casey Kopua at keeper, with Bassett popping 47 goals from 50 attempts.
The Kiwis found their rhythm, setting up a solid defensive zone and even engaging in some physical play of their own.
Wing attack Kim Green (32 feeds) was knocked about the most by Kayla Cullen, while Julie Corletto and Tutaia also hit the deck in a tangle.
But despite shortening the deficit to four goals during an epic third quarter, they couldn’t flick the switch on the Aussie intensity.