The Australian Netball Team is one step away from ending its 12-year Commonwealth Games gold medal drought after beating Jamaica 57-42 in the semi-final in Glasgow on Saturday.
Australia will take on archrivals New Zealand, who defeated England 35-34 with the last shot of the game, in the decider on Sunday after they edged out the Sunshine Girls at the Scottish Convention & Exhibition Centre.
The reigning world champions defended their way to victory with a composed performance under pressure as they held the Jamaicans to their equal lowest score – 42 goals – for the tournament.
After an even start, the Australians outclassed their Jamaican rivals with a clinical second half display, outscoring the fourth ranked side 33-19 after the main break to set up a fifth straight trans-Tasman Commonwealth Games final.
The Australians took time to settle as costly turnovers relieved the pressure on Jamaica early before they skipped ahead to take a four-goal, 13-9, lead into the quarter-time break.
Centre Kim Green sent an injury scare through the Australian camp midway through the second quarter when she was hunched over on court after suffering a stray elbow to her cheek when contesting possession.
While Green returned to the court, the injury time out appeared to disrupt the Australians momentum as Jamaica fought their way back into the match to trail by just one goal, 24-23, at half-time.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander introduced fresh legs for the second half with Renae Hallinan, celebrating her 50th appearance for Australia, replacing Sharni Layton at wing defence while Green was given a spell on the sideline for Kim Ravaillion.
The Australians couldn’t have asked for a better start to their second half as they piled on six unanswered goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to lead 33-25 and gain the ascendency.
Wing attack Madi Robinson was inspirational for Australia with the 26-year-old collecting four intercepts and 22 goal assists in complete performance both in attack and defence.
The ever dangerous Jamaicans, who are capable of scoring quickly through 198cm shooter Jhaniele Fowle-Reidr, were forced into turnovers as they looked to stage a comeback in the fourth-quarter.
Australia never looked back in the final term to secure the 15-goal victory and book a spot in Sunday’s gold medal game.
“My job today at goal keeper was taking on their huge target in Jhaniele Fowler but the protection that I was given by everyone else out in front of me makes me proud of this group of players, we get out there and work for each other,” Australian captain Laura Geitz said.
Robinson said it was the complete team performance that won Australia the game.
“It was the hard work of every one doing their job, the intercepts are created by everyone’s hard work around it,” Robinson said.
“We knew that coming down court we had to create that pressure so we weren’t exposing our defenders so it was a great team defensive effort.”
Australia take on New Zealand in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal match on Sunday at 12.30pm (9.30pm AEST).