Australia is through to its first ever Netball World Series Grand Final after the Fast5 Flyers beat the Jamaica Sunshine Girls 27-25 in the semi-final at Vector Arena in Auckland on Sunday.
The Australians, who have never finished better than third at a FastNet or Fast5 Netball World Series tournament since the competition’s inception in 2009, will take on defending champions New Zealand in the final.
Backing up from a 41-all draw less than 24 hours earlier during the round robin phase, the Australians and Jamaicans both showed signs of nerves in a cagey opening half.
Neither side could find their range from around the scoring zones as inaccuracy cost both sides the chance to claim the ascendency early, instead opting for conservative play.
All six of Australia’s second-quarter points came from under the post in the one-point scoring zone as the Flyers pulled ahead 11-8 lead at half-time, after nothing could separate the semi-finalists in the first period.
Jamaica pulled ahead during their third quarter power play as long-range passes into 198cm shooter Jhaniele Fowler saw the Sunshine Girls establish their biggest lead of the game heading into the final term.
Trailing 18-15 at three-quarter time, the Flyers capitalised on their fourth quarter power play to bridge the deficit before Carla Dziwoki converted a two-point shot, just Australia’s fourth for the match, to secure the victory.
“We knew last year wasn’t a great performance so we really wanted to lift this year and show how the Aussies play and we’ve managed to do that so far,” Australian Flyers shooter Tegan Caldwell said post match.
“Obviously we’re all excited after that win but we’ll go back, do our recovery and get our heads ready for the next game because it’s certainly going to be tough.”
The Australian Fast5 Flyers will take on the New Zealand Fast5 Ferns in the Grand Final of the 2013 Fast5 Netball World Series at 5.35pm (AEDST).