Australia humiliate sloppy Ferns
THE Silver Ferns won’t feature in a gold medal game at the Commonwealth Games for the first time.
New Zealand were thumped by raging gold medal favourites Australia 65-44 in their semifinal at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre yesterday.
That means the Silver Ferns will be forced to battle it out for bronze with Jamaica today. Australia take on England in the gold medal match after the Roses overcame Jamaica in the other semifinal in a thriller 56-55.
It will be the first time the Silver Ferns haven’t appeared in a gold medal match at the event, having previously played in every final since netball was first contested at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
After a shock loss to Malawi in pool play and a record breaking nine-goal defeat to England in their final group game on Wednesday, the Silver Ferns had to almost play the perfect game to get close to Australia.
Australia were quick out of the blocks, racing to a 18-12 first quarter advantage, which blew out to 32-21 by halftime.
The onslaught continued in the second half with Australia punishing Silver Ferns turnovers with slick movement through the court down to their accurate shooters.
Australia coach Lisa Alexander switched around her shooters for the second half, bringing on Caitlin Thwaites and Steph Wood, but it was a seamless transition.
The victory was Australia’s sixth straight win over the Silver Ferns since their surprise 57-47 loss in the Quad Series decider in Invercargill on September 3. Australia’s last four wins over the Silver Ferns have all been by double-digit margins.
It continued a worrying run of results for New Zealand since October. This was their 11th loss in their last 17 games.
There were early danger signs for the Silver Ferns with Australia racing out to a 13-6 advantage. It was too easy for the Australian midcourt, who were able to hit the circle edge with ease and get the ball right where they wanted it to their shooters.
Four unanswered goals from the Ferns pegged it back to 14-11, but Australia finished the opening term strongly to build a 18-12 lead.
New Zealand weren’t able to generate enough early turnover ball with a Katrina Grant intercept the lone defensive pickup of the first quarter.
Bronze medal opponents Jamaica will fancy their chances against the Silver Ferns. They won two matches within three days against New Zealand last month in the Taini Jamison Trophy series in Auckland.