Australia seek to create new history in Glasgow

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The next chapter in one of sport’s most storied rivalries will be written on Sunday when Australia take on New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games gold medal game in Glasgow.
 
The two sides will play off for the gold medal for the fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games with the ledger currently split. Australia won the first two tournaments in 1998 and 2002, before New Zealand responded to win gold in 2006 and 2010.
 
Australian netball team coach Lisa Alexander said the final presented the opportunity to create new history as her side looks to put to bed a 12-year Commonwealth Games netball gold medal drought.
 
“Sunday is a new day, I think if we hark back to history to much we could do our heads in, this is a new day so it’s about both teams bringing their best and executing in the gold medal game,” Alexander said.
 
Australia booked their spot in the decider with a comprehensive second half performance to down Jamaica 57-42 in the semi-final while New Zealand came from behind to break local hearts as they beat England 35-34 with the last shot of the game.
 
Hampered by injury to their attacking end during the preliminary rounds, New Zealand welcomed back experienced shooter Maria Tutaia in the semi-final while key target Cathrine Latu remained sidelined with a calf injury.
 
Australian captain Laura Geitz said she is expecting nothing less than a full strength Silver Ferns team for the final. 
 
“I wouldn’t for one second say that we’re taking on a second string New Zealand side, we’ve been very smart in what they’ve been putting out there,” Geitz said.
 
“We expect the unexpected tomorrow and know that they will rise to the challenge, it’s a gold medal game, and we don’t expect anything less than their strongest team out there.
 
“They’ve got the team to be able to win the game and we’ve got to play some very good netball to stop them.”
 
Arguably one of biggest rivalries in international sport, Australia and New Zealand will contest their tenth grand final / gold medal match since 1991 in Sydney – the first time a decider was played at either world championships or Commonwealth Games.
 
The Tasman neighbours have previous met on 116 occasions with 50 per cent of matches decided by five goals or less, including the 2002 and 2010 Commonwealth Games finals that went to extra time.
 
“I think tomorrow you’ll see two champion teams full of champion players that will rise to the occasion,” Geitz said.
 
“It will be a cracking game, we expect nothing less than that and we know that stepping out on court it’s two very talented, skilful sides that will go head to head.
 
“We’ve got a fantastic playing group that can go all the way and to come up against the Kiwis in the grand final or a gold medal match is what you dream of so we have to play supreme netball on Sunday.
 
“We built during the week but hopefully we’ve saved our best performance for last.”
 
Australia take on New Zealand in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal match on Sunday at 12.30pm (9.30pm AEST).

Follow the Australian Netball Team during the Commonwealth Games online on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aussiediamonds or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aussiediamonds

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