A world record crowd for a netball match has watched the Australian Diamonds’ 21-Test winning streak come to an end after losing 52-47 to New Zealand in their Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015 pool match.
The five-goal defeat was Australia’s first loss since it was beaten by New Zealand at Invercargill in September 2013.
It was also Australia’s first loss in a Netball World Cup since the 2003 final, also against New Zealand.
The crowd of 16,233 at Allphones Arena at Sydney Olympic Park was treated to an impressive performance by the Silver Ferns.
New Zealand’s defence, led by captain Casey Kopua, stood resolute while its midcourt and shooters Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes got on top of their opponents in the second half.
It’s the first time in 21 Tests that Australia has conceded 50 goals or more. Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said the loss was a “good reality check” for her side heading into the second week of the tournament.
“We were disappointing across the court; we just made silly errors that are uncharacteristic of us and I don’t think our defensive pressure was there, which is what we pride ourselves on,” Geitz said after the match.
“Full credit to the Silver Ferns; their full court pressure was outstanding and we failed to adjust and make of the most of the ball we did turnover.
“The pressure just built and they came away with the win.
“It will be good to look back at that game and pin point the areas we need to improve on. There’s plenty of more netball to play.”
The pressure from both teams in the opening minutes was immense and the shooters at both ends were made to work hard for their scoring opportunities.
The two sides traded goal for goal but New Zealand was able to gain the first decisive break late in the first quarter to lead by three goals at the first break.
Julie Corletto, who sat out the win over Barbados, came into goal defence to start the second quarter to replace Sharni Layton and Australian shooter Caitlin Bassett quickly reeled in the Silver Ferns’ lead to level the scores in the opening minutes.
The two teams again traded goals and the Diamonds briefly grabbed the lead before the Silver Ferns capitalised on some good defensive pressure and Australian turnovers late in the term to maintain their three-goal lead at the main break.
Layton returned to goal defence to start the second half but New Zealand continued to pile on the pressure and converted their opportunities, opening up an eight-goal lead, the biggest of the game.
With Paige Hadley replacing Kimberlee Green at wing attack, the Diamonds started the final term strongly to give their supporters some hope of a remarkable comeback as they twice closed to within three goals.
But the Silver Ferns were not rattled and were able to claim their third victory of this World Cup campaign to finish on top of Pool A. Australia’s next opponent in the qualification round matches will be decided tomorrow night.
Official Result & Statistics
NEW ZEALAND (52) defeated AUSTRALIAN DIAMONDS (47)
New Zealand shooting statistics:
Maria Tutaia 34/48 (71%)
Bailey Mes 18/21 (86%)
Australian Diamonds shooting statistics:
Caitlin Bassett 38/43 (88%)
Natalie Medhurst 6/7 (86%)
Erin Bell 3/7 (43%)
Click here for complete match statistics