A dominant Australia defeated neighbours New Zealand 58-55 to be crowned 2015 Netball World Cup champions in Sydney on Sunday. The victory represents the 11th world title and third in a row for the Australians. At 3-3 the Diamonds had an intercept in their own half and scored two in a row to take the lead at 5-3.
After that it was the hosts in dominant form putting some serious pressure on the Silver Ferns with some great defensive play from Laura Geitz. The New Zealanders were being run ragged at the back as the Aussies continued to nullify their defence to take a 9-4 lead. With three minutes to go in the first quarter another rebound from Geitz saw Lisa Alexander’s ladies open up a seven point lead.
Some missed opportunities from the Kiwi attacking pair of Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes saw the Australians maintain their 100 percent shooting accuracy and race ahead 16-7 at the end of the first period. The New Zelanders scored two goals in the opening minutes of the second quarter and thanks to a miss at the other end they managed to reduce the deficit to seven through Tutaia. However the green and gold machine continued on its way as they gave the ladies from across the Tasman no room to play their game as they raced ahead by twelve at 25-13.
Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst helped the hosts to a 30-22 advantage at the half-time break. The defending champions picked up where they left off opening the scoring in the penultimate quarter though Bassett. At the other end Laura Langman worked one really well towards Tutaia to keep themselves in touching distance at 31-23.
With under ten minutes to go both teams were matching each other goal for goal with six goals a piece in this quarter. An end to end affair saw turnovers and intercepts by both teams with Geitz and Kayla Cullen putting their teams on the front foot with just nine goals between them at 40-31 in favour of Alexander’s girls. In the closing stages of the quarter it looked like a fightback was on the cards as the Silver Ferns began to click and forced their opponents into errors.
Mes and Tutaia scored seven unanswered goals to reduce the deficit to four. However Geitz and company ended the quarter well to maintain their lead at 43-37 despite being out scored 15 goals to 13 by the ladies in black. The Kiwis continued their fightback scoring first in the final quarter at to make it 44-39.
With just six points in it with under 12 minutes to go both sides looked to put some pressure on either side’s defence. The Ferns picked up the pace getting the ball forward fast but they were unable to make them count at all times. The attacking pair of Bassett and Medhurst went about their game with ease just ticking the scoreboard over to maintain their lead.
In the final stages of the match the errors started to creep in for the Silver Ferns as they allowed the Australians to stretch ahead at 52-44. Tutaia was forced to shoot from distance as Geitz and Julie Corletto did their best to keep her at bay. A scrappy final three minutes saw the Kiwis come within three but it was a little too late as the Diamonds took their third title on the trot with a 58-55 victory.
Photo credit: Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015