International Tests

Diamonds Unable to Hold Off Resurgent Roses in Scintillating Draw

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The Origin Diamonds led for the majority of the game, but in what could be considered a near replica of the 2018 Commonwealth Games Final, Helen Housby came up clutch and sunk a goal in the dying seconds to bring scores level and draw the game. It was very clear that both teams left some things untested, such as the Gretel Bueta-Steph Wood combo we’ve seen in every other game to far, in an attempt to add an element of surprise to the re-match in less than 24 hours time.

This was the first time Australia has been challenged for a full 60 minutes this Quad Series, and should be applauded for their ability to maintain the lead for most of the game against a much more experienced Roses side. Sophie Garbin at GS and Sunday Aryang at GD were particularly impressive in the second half, scoring 18/20 and collecting two gains plus a deflection respectively.

Both Australian shooting combinations that got trialled performed well, while Koenen initially struggled with the physicality from Eboni Usoro-Brown, her connection with Wood built through the half. Garbin and Bueta picked up from where they left off in their previous game time together when they entered the game after half time, using their strength and movement to get good position and frustrate the defenders. Liz Watson returned to the game day 12 in her 50th international test and was a welcome addition in attack, but Jamie-Lee Price struggled in her first start at C. She played out the full 60 minutes and while only accruing 3 turnovers, she seemed to lack her usual intensity on both attack and defence and struggled to combine with Watson at WA.

The defenders had a phenomenal game, lead from the back by Sarah Klau who picked up four intercepts in the first quarter against a struggling Ellie Cardwell. The switch of Housby to GS kept Klau busy with her movement, and she was only able to collect one more gain for the rest of the game. Courtney Bruce was then subbed into GK for the final 10 minutes and picked up two gains, one of which could’ve won them the game if it weren’t for a stepping call in the attacking end that gave possession back to England and allowed them to level the game.

Courtney Bruce and Laura Malcolm contest for a ball in the final minutes of the game. Image Courtesy Netball Australia

Stacey Marinkovich on the rotation of players and her plans ahead of tomorrow’s final

“I think I’ve got a variety of combos we can certainly go to, we’ll have to see how the girls pull up in the morning but for all intents and purposes part of the reason of being over here is to see the versatility that we’ve got. I think we saw some real strength in the combinations that we put out there and there was some changes that we had to make on the fly and you can just see the growth and strength across all of them when they’re coming on is improving each time.”

Liz Watson on what the team will take out from the draw

“Lots of learnings I think from that game, the beauty is we’re back here tomorrow, it’s a really quick turnaround, we’ve got to really simplify it as players, pick out the three or four things we need to focus on and then bring it together as a team. We’re in a great position as a team to be able to come back out tomorrow and hopefully have a win.”

Stacey Marinkovich on Liz Watson’s return to International Netball

“I think this just shows the strength of what Liz has been doing in the background while she hasn’t been playing netball she’s certainly been taking each step to ensure that her injury is back at full strength and that her body is in a really good shape. She’s obviously a very skilful player so it doesn’t take much for all that to come back.”

Stacey Marinkovich on the new members of the squad

“I think putting players in this sort of environment and them being fresh ,the thing we expect from them is that every time they step out on court they’ve got a role to play and that growth and understanding of what that actually is, is becoming clearer. You can see that the girls are really attacking the play now and using their instinct and their strengths to keep evolving the way that we want to play”

Watch the Quad Series Final between Origin Australian Diamonds and Vitality England Roses Live on Kayo Freebies & Foxtel Thursday 20th January, 6.30am AEST

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