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Diamonds seal World Cup with ruthless brilliance

Courtney Bruce produced another inspirational performance as Australia won the netball World Cup.

Courtney Bruce produced another inspirational performance as Australia won the netball World Cup. Photo: AAP

Australia have delivered a dominant display to win the netball World Cup for the 12th time, regaining the crown with a clinical and classy 61-45 victory over England in the final in Cape Town.

The Diamonds were far more ruthless and precise than in their one-goal loss to England on Thursday in the group stages and Sunday’s final was effectively over at three-quarter time once Australia had surged into a 10-goal lead.

Australia converted more turnovers into goals than England, with circle defenders Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston particularly outstanding.

Inspired by some of the comments emanating from the England camp after their group defeat, the Diamonds delivered one of their best performances, according to their retiring star Ash Brazill after her final match.

“For the last 10 minutes, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face,” said Brazill.

“England beat us in the rounds and everyone loved targeting us, Helen (Housby, the England star) said they were fitter and more energetic than us and that just got everyone fighting.

“We really wanted to beat Jamaica (in the semi-final) so we could play against these guys again, and we’ve done it the way we wanted to. The last two games were some of the best netball we’ve played in a long time.

“I’m so proud of these girls. The fact we’re standing here as world champions, I just couldn’t wish for a better ending. I’ll never play netball again – how can I top this?”

Coach Stacey Marinkovich named the same starting seven for the third straight game, but replaced both shooters in the second quarter.

The score was tied 13-13 at quarter time, but Australia pulled away either side of halftime, outscoring England 14-10 In the second and 19-13 in the third.

They maintained their intensity to the end, winning the final quarter 15-9.
Australia forced a turnover from the first centre pass and with superior ball control early moved to an 11-7 lead.

England fought back with Fran Williams coming off the bench into goal defence and snaffling an intercept as the Roses fought back to force a 13-13 tie at quarter time.

With South African president Cyril Ramaphosa among those in the crowd, England twice edged ahead by one early in the second quarter.

Marinkovich rejigged her shooting combination with Sophie Garbin (27/32) and player of the match Kiera Austin (15/17) coming on for starters Cara Koenen (10/10) and Steph Wood (9/10).

Weston and Bruce forced turnovers with Australia scoring four unanswered goals to set up a 27-23 halftime lead.

Four unanswered goals early in the third quarter blew Australia’s lead to eight goals and it swelled to 10 by the end of the period, with the Diamonds’ slick passing offering England few chances to turn over ball.

Goal attack Austin said: “I don’t have words, I’m so proud to have gone out there and won it for Australia. We promised to write our own script and we did.

“It took all 15 of us to come over here and win it. I don’t think it’s going to sink in for a while.”

Earlier, Jamaica had earned their fourth World Cup bronze medal with a 52-45 win over 2019 champions New Zealand in the match for third and fourth positions.

Jhaniele Fowler shot 43 off 44 for Jamaica and it was New Zealand’s worst-ever World Cup result, the first time they haven’t won a medal.

— AAP

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