Diamonds cut through Roses into the final

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Ian Chadband / AAP News

 

The Australian Diamonds have dethroned the Gold Coast 2018 gold medal winning English Roses in a terrific display to progress to Sunday’s gold medal match against Jamaica.

 

Australia’s Diamonds have cut ruthlessly through England’s Roses, earning sweet, sweet revenge for their painful 2018 Commonwealth Games netball final defeat.

And it’s set up one final mission of retribution, as they’re now ready to take the smiles off the faces of Jamaica’s brilliant Sunshine Girls who shocked them just three day earlier.

“It’s great to have another opportunity. You wouldn’t want to walk away from the tournament and go, ‘what if?’,” smiled Australia coach Stacey Marinkovich after the emphatic 60-51 semi-final win over England on Saturday muted the cacophony from the Games’ shrillest, noisiest crowd.

The pantomime boos her team received and the deafening cheers for England, she felt, were simply a dress rehearsal for Sunday’s final.

“I don’t think it’ll be too dissimilar tomorrow – the Jamaicans are very popular and they’re playing very good netball. So to play in front of that crowd in that atmosphere today, and execute, puts us in a good position.”

The win over England was surgical, built on the brilliance and fluidity of the Diamonds’ movement as they repeated their Quad Series final demolition of the old enemy in London in January.

It now gives them the chance of winning a fifth Commonwealth crown after they were sensationally dethroned in the 2018 final by Helen Housby’s last-ditch goal.

Housby and her colleagues never looked like repeating the shock – one which has become enshrined as one of the best moments in English women’s sport. The Australians took command midway through the first quarter and never let go.

Inspired by the brilliance inside the shooting circle of Gretel Bueta, who dominated England’s defenders with 43 goals from 44 attempts, the Diamonds led by three after the first quarter, six at halftime and nine after the third.

It was a relentless stranglehold, the speed of Australia’s ball movement in contrast to England’s cumbersome build-up towards the ne t.

Every one of Marinkovich’s team, led by captain Liz Watson and Courtney Bruce, on her 50th appearance, played a big part in the Diamonds’ dominance.

There had been a bizarre early stoppage in the opening period at 3-3 when England’s Layla¬†Guscoth crashed into the net post while trying to make an interception.

That prompted a delay to the game as another post was eventually brought into the arena, but Australia never lost concentration and re-emerged after a team huddle to take control

When England managed to briefly reduce the final-quarter deficit to six, there was a flicker of concern that Australia might again go into meltdown mode as they did against Jamaica but, instead, they held tough to silence the madding crowd.

Marikovich was impressed. “There were times when you just couldn’t hear anything, it was so deafening, you couldn’t communicate on the court.

“So the connection they had on court to use the space and keep composed was the greatest trust we’ve seen among the group.”

Earlier, the Jamaicans continued their inspired form in their semi-final, following up their 57-55 defeat of Australia with a convincing 67-51 win over world champions New Zealand.

Their deadly West Coast Fever goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler scored 54 from 54.

Bruce, for one, is desperate for revenge. “I’m itching to get back out there, 100 per cent, absolutely raring to get out there and give them another crack,” she said.

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