Sport

Diamonds to take on Kiwis for netball gold

ALLORA goal keeper Laura Geitz deflected all the praise to her teammates after Australia secured a play off for gold after a 57-42 victory against Jamaica in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The Australian Diamonds will play arch rivals New Zealand at 9.30pm tonight (AEST, Sunday) in the gold medal game.

New Zealand beat England 35-34 in the other semi final.

Geitz is captaining Australia at a Commonwealth Games for the first time and is one player who has been rarely subbed off at the games.

"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.

After winning silver four years ago in her first Commonwealth Games, Geitz has the chance to lead the Diamonds to their first games gold medal since 2002.

Looking at form, Australia may start slight favourite but no netballer has ever underestimated New Zealand.

Australia beat Jamaice in the semi by 15 points, eight more than the winning margin by New Zealand in a pool game.

New Zealand defeated England 35-34 with the last shot of the game in the semi, the same margin Australia had over England in the pool game.

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 in the semi.

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, replaced Sharni Layton at wing defence while Green was given a spell on the sideline for Kimberley Ravaillion.

The Australians couldn't have asked for a better start to their second half as they pilled 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 a complete performance both in attack and defence.

The ever dangerous Jamaicans, who are capable of scoring quickly through 198cm shooter Fowler, 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 today's gold medal game.

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).

Topics:  commonwealth games, diamonds, laura geitz




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