Silver Ferns no match for Aussies in final

NATHAN BURDON IN GLASGOW
Last updated 03:49 04/08/2014
LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff.co.nz

The Silver ferns are beaten by the Australian netball team in the final on the last day of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Anna Harrison
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ Zoom
Anna Harrison walks from the court as the Australians celebrate victory.

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The Australian Diamonds have finally broken their Commonwealth Games drought, beating the Silver Ferns 58-40 in Glasgow.

Chasing their first Games gold medal since 2002 in Manchester, Australia had a four goal lead at halftime and never looked back to win their 13th test in a row, and bank their fifth consecutive victory over New Zealand.

Caitlin Bassett was the star for the Australians, converting 49 of her 53 shots at goal.

''Our main game is speed of the ball and our midcourt worked really hard in bringing the ball with speed into the top of the circle,'' she said.

''When it's left to a one on one, that's my job to get the ball and having a significant height advantage helped.''

The Australians were jubilant at the end a match which they desperately wanted to win.

By contrast, the Silver Ferns were looking back on a game where they were clearly outplayed.

''Very disappointing,'' midcourter Laura Langman said.

''I think it doesn't really show the work we've done to get here, so extremely, bitterly disappointed about that but you've got to give it to them, they were fresh, they were fit, they were fast.''

New Zealand coach Wai Taumaunu said her team couldn't put it together for long enough to put pressure on the Diamonds.

''It was a very good Australian performance. I'm really disappointed in the lack of quality of our performance. There were times when we showed some great netball, particularly in that last quarter going into Cathrine [Latu], but in general we just did not stop that Australian flow through the court and I have to acknowledge that,'' he said.

''You create your own opportunities. We had the opportunity to play for a gold today. We knew all of those things and we know this is an older team and we aren't going to be coming back so all of those things were playing there, but I'm afraid they didn't help us to stop a pretty comprehensive Australian effort today.''

This was a Silver Ferns campaign marked by injuries to their shooting stocks, a second big tournament loss to their arch-rivals following the extra-time defeat at the world championships three years ago.

Latu's dodgy calf wasn't considered good enough for her to start, although she did warm up with the team.

Jodi Brown, who has played some solid netball for the Silver Ferns this week, was installed at goal attack with Maria Tutaia starting at goal shoot.

After being replaced early in the semifinal against England, Leana de Bruin was back in the defensive circle with Casey Kopua, while the midcourt was the trio of Liana Leota, Laura Langman and Joline Henry.

Tutaia had a nervous start, her bib coming off in the opening play and she subsequently missed her first shot.

A piece of Kopua magic helped New Zealand to get back onto level terms at 14-all at the break.

Australia ramped up the defensive pressure throughout the court in the second quarter, making life almost impossible for the New Zealand feeders.

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The pressure told, with the Diamonds landing five straight goals to help them to a 28-24 lead at halftime.

Katrina Grant replaced de Bruin for the third quarter, pushing Kopua back to mark Bassett

The Ferns needed things to go their way after the break. They didn't.

Tutaia got a tough three second call, Brown couldn't haul in a pass and suddenly the Diamonds were out to a 10 goal lead.

The harder New Zealand tried to get back into the contest, the worse things got for them.

Latu was given a run at goal shoot for the final quarter, with Anna Harrison coming on at wing defence and picking up an early clean intercept, while Shannon Francois came on with a few minutes to go.

Latu admitted that it had been a tough week having to cope with her injury.

''Everyone knows I'm a real crybaby but I have cried [as] much in the last three days as I have in my life. It has been a really tough week, but a week that I've been waiting so long to be a part of and I'm glad I was out there on the court at all.''

The New Zealand fans in the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre's Hydro building were praying for a miracle, but the Diamonds actually got better as the game drew to its inevitable conclusion.

Bassett finished the game with 49 goals from 53 attempts.

''Our main game is speed of the ball and our midcourt worked really hard in brining the balll with speed into the top of the circle. When it's left to a one on one, that's my job to get the ball and having a significant height advantage helped.''

Earlier, Jamaica beat England 52-48 in the bronze medal match.

- Stuff

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