Diamonds win big against Fiji Pearls at Netball World Cup

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich used 11 of her 12 players against Fiji on Sunday.

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich used 11 of her 12 players against Fiji on Sunday. Photo: AAP

Australia piled on its biggest score at the 2023 netball World Cup as they hit the century mark and completed a clean sweep of its three pool games with a 101-32 win over Fiji.

After wins by 56 points and 47 points against Zimbabwe and Tonga respectively, Australia was far too strong and skilful for world No.19 Fiji, the lowest ranked of the Diamonds’ three pool opponents.

An early start in Cape Town didn’t faze the Diamonds, who conceded two of the first three goals but controlled the rest of the contest.

Coach Stacey Marinkovich used 11 of her 12 players, with midcourter Ash Brazill, who started the first two games, rested for Sunday’s match.

All the combinations shone, giving Marinkovich some pleasant selection headaches.

Fiji had no answers to the swift and accurate ball movement of the Diamonds, who forced them into 46 turnovers, with Australia also collecting 15 intercepts.

Goal keeper Courtney Bruce earned her second player-of-the-match award at the tournament, grabbing eight intercepts and 11 gains overall, despite playing only the second half.

Australia shot at 93 per cent with Cara Koenen (37/37) and Sophie Garbin (54/60) dominant and they were fed well by Liz Watson and Kiera Austin, each of who logged 24 goal assists.

Captain Watson was most pleased by Australia getting into a rhythm quicker than in its first two games.

“I think to be able to start the way we did, the last two games we weren’t really strong out of the blocks,” Watson told Fox Sports.

“So to be able to have a really good first quarter and then push on and once again get almost everyone out there on court and different combinations.

“So really happy with the first three games.”

Garbin and defender Jo Weston each got their first start of the tournament, ensuring all 12 squad members had at least one start across the three games.

Watson and Keen were the only Australians selected to start all of the pool games.

Australia outscored Fiji 23-9 in each of the first two quarters to lead 46-18 at half-time.

The Diamonds maintained their momentum despite Marinkovich making multiple changes before both the third and fourth quarters.

They had a 12-1 start to the third quarter, which they won 26-9 and overpowered Fiji 29-5 in the last.

Australia could play either Malawi or Scotland on Monday evening or Tuesday morning (AEST) depending on the results of the later games.

“We’ve obviously got areas that we want to improve on,” Bruce said.

“We want to be able to win every five minutes of the game and just our execution under fatigue is our real focus at the moment and going back to that hard one-on one Aussie defence.”

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