The Australian Diamonds are determined to farewell retiring defender Julie Corletto as a world champion when they face New Zealand in the Grand Final at the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015.
It will be Corletto’s 52nd and final Test appearance and she will join the likes of Vicki Wilson, Shelley O’Donnell, Jenny Borlase, Liz Ellis and current Diamonds specialist coach Marg Caldow as a three-time world champion if Australia can triumph.
Corletto announced her retirement before the tournament and Australian shooter Caitlin Bassett said the rest of her teammates are excited by the opportunity to give the 28-year-old the fairytale finish she deserves.
“I think it’s going to be an emotional game, especially for Julie and all of us who want to help end her career on a high,” Bassett said
“It’s going to be something important.
“Our focus has been to get to the gold medal match; it was never a given and that we weren’t able to stroll there so it has been a lot of hard work for us over the last 10 days.
“Now that we are finally here, we can look to the match and start discussing those things.”
Goal attack Natalie Medhurst, who was influential in Australia’s semi-final win over Jamaica, will also join the group of triple world champions. Medhurst and Corletto were part of Australia’s 2007 and 2011 triumphant teams.
It will be the sixth time that the Diamonds and Silver Ferns have met in the gold medal match since finals were introduced to the Netball World Cup format back in 1991 – when the tournament was last played in Sydney.
Australia and New Zealand have met 14 times in Netball World Cup history with the Diamonds triumphing nine times.
New Zealand beat Australia 52-47 earlier in the tournament and all week the Diamonds have been waiting for the opportunity at redemption for that result, which ended their 21-Test winning streak.
But Bassett said that performance by the Silver Ferns showed why the Diamonds would never underestimate their capabilities.
“You can’t walk out there and not expect them to bring their best,” Bassett declared.
“The fact that they do have a very different line up to what we’re used to did throw us a little bit. We weren’t super proud of that performance, it wasn’t us playing at our best and we wasted far too much ball which is something that we’re going to address.
“We’ve done a lot of hard work and watched them play the last few games and I think they definitely have had a tough pool to get through. We’re going to be well prepared when we step out on court.”
Bassett’s battle with Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua will be one of the game’s crucial match ups while Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander is also wary of the impact Leana de Bruin has had coming into goal defence at half-time of New Zealand’s matches to replace Katrina Grant.
“We have to be careful of Leana’s long arms, that’s the main thing and the playground in the circle that Casey and Leana do so well together,” Alexander said.
“We have to carefully analyse what we’re going to do and bring some variety to that. We need to be very focused on the task that we have – and we will be.”
The Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 Grand Final between Australia and New Zealand will be broadcast live on FOX SPORTS, Network TEN and via the Netball Live app, available to download from the App Store and Google Play. Check your local guides for match details.