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Skipper Liz Watson inspires Diamonds to clean sweep over Proteas

Skipper Liz Watson was outstanding for Australia in the convincing 77-50 victory over South Africa.

Skipper Liz Watson was outstanding for Australia in the convincing 77-50 victory over South Africa. Photo: Getty

Australia has completed a hugely successful 2023 campaign by sweeping South Africa in their three-match netball series with a 77-50 win over the Proteas in Hobart.

Sparked by skipper Liz Watson, the Diamonds registered the biggest victory margin in the series after clinching the opening matches 62-43 and 67-52 respectively.

Australia finished the year with 16 victories from 19 Tests, having won the Quad Series, World Cup and the Constellation Cup prior to playing the Proteas.

The teams split the first four goals but Australia dominated the rest of the first half, leading 22-11 and 42-22 at the breaks.

Wing attack Watson was clearly the best player on court and frequently sliced through the Proteas, racking up match highs of 44 feeds and 31 goal assists.

In the first half, Australia’s accurate passing and shooting and defensive pressure wore down the world No.5-rated South Africa, which struggled to score and maintain possession.

Coach Stacey Marinkovich introduced all five bench players into the game at the start of the second half.

The rejigged line-up took time to click and South Africa lifted its intensity, to only lose the third quarter by one.

The resurgent Proteas notched five successive goals to reduce the deficit to 17, but Australia surged to the finish line.

Donnell Wallam (26/30) took advantage of her first start of the series and together with Cara Koenen (16/16) capitalised on Watson’s quick and slick feeding into the circle.

Koenen shot 100 per cent for the second game running, but she and Wallam made way at half-time with Sophie Garbin (28/30) and Sophie Dwyer (7/9) keeping the scoreboard ticking over.

Ine-Mari Venter (38/43) was South Africa’s most reliable shooter, but the Proteas were again let down by their ball control, committing 28 turnovers.

Marinkovich again mixed up her side bringing three players back into the starting line-up and making three positional changes, with Watson the only one to back up in the same position.

-AAP
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