Silver Ferns win netball gold in extra time

16:07, Oct 14 2010
New Zealand and Papua New Guinea players in a group huddle after their match at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand and Papua New Guinea players in a group huddle after their match at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Liana Barrett-chase battles a Papua New Guinea player for possession during the Silver Ferns' big win at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Liana Barrett-chase battles a Papua New Guinea player for possession during the Silver Ferns' big win at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Daneka Wipiiti claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Daneka Wipiiti claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Irene Van Dyk claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Irene Van Dyk claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Grace Rasmussen claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
New Zealand's Grace Rasmussen claims possession during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Papua New Guinea's Lua Rikis and New Zealand's Casey Williams battle for the ball during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Papua New Guinea's Lua Rikis and New Zealand's Casey Williams battle for the ball during the Silver Ferns' big win over Papua New Guinea at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.
Temepara George in action against England at the Commonwealth Games.
Temepara George in action against England at the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand's Temepara George and England's Jade Clarke collide during their netball clash in the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand's Temepara George and England's Jade Clarke collide during their netball clash in the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand's Laura Langman battles for the ball in the team's netball win over England at the Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand's Laura Langman battles for the ball in the team's netball win over England at the Commonwealth Games.
Laura Langman and Jade Clarke battle for possession in New Zealand's win over England at the Commonwealth Games.
Laura Langman and Jade Clarke battle for possession in New Zealand's win over England at the Commonwealth Games.
England's Sara Bayman beats New Zealand's Temepara George to the ball in the netball match won by New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.
England's Sara Bayman beats New Zealand's Temepara George to the ball in the netball match won by New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games.
Maria Tutaia
Maria Tutaia and Kasey Ann Evering compete for the ball.
New Zealand's Anna Scarlett defends against Jamaica in the netball semifinal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand's Anna Scarlett defends against Jamaica in the netball semifinal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Irene van Dyk
Silver Ferns goal shoot Irene van Dyk pulls in an entry pass during the Commonwealth Games gold medal match.
Norma Plummer
Australia Diamonds coach Norma Plummer looks on grimly during the Commonwealth Games gold medal match.
Maria Tutaia and Temepara George
Maria Tutaia and Temepara George embrace on the court after claiming gold, watched by Irene van Dyk and Laura Langman.
Maria Tutaia and Temepara George
Maria Tutaia, who hit the gold medal-winning goal, and Temepara George embrace on-court after the Silver Ferns win.
Temepara George
Silver Ferns midcourter Temepara George leaps to catch a pass in stride.
Temepara George
Silver Ferns midcourter Temepara George looks to get a pass by Australia wing defence Renae Hallinan.
Silver Ferns
The Silver Ferns celebrate defending their Commonwealth Games title.
Silver Ferns
Silver Ferns players and staff thank their fans after winning gold.
Silver Ferns
Maria Tutaia and Katrina Grant are helped up off the court after the Silver Ferns nail-biting win over Australia.
Silver Ferns
Silver Ferns bench players Grace Rasmussen, Joline Henry and Liana Barrett-Chase react to Maria Tutaia's gold medal-winning shot.
Australian coach Norma Plummer (left) and another team official after losing the Commonwealth Games netball final to New Zealand.
Australian coach Norma Plummer (left) and another team official after losing the Commonwealth Games netball final to New Zealand.
A trio of Australian players after losing the Commonwealth Games netball final to New Zealand.
A trio of Australian players after losing the Commonwealth Games netball final to New Zealand.
The delight is obvious as Katrina Grant and Temepara George celebrate with their gold medals after New Zealand beat Australia in the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The delight is obvious as Katrina Grant and Temepara George celebrate with their gold medals after New Zealand beat Australia in the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players huddle (foreground) while Australians appear shell-shocked after the Silver Ferns won the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players huddle (foreground) while Australians appear shell-shocked after the Silver Ferns won the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players wave to the crowd from the medal dais after winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players wave to the crowd from the medal dais after winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players Casey Williams and Katrina Grant show off their gold medals winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players Casey Williams and Katrina Grant show off their gold medals winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players Maria Tutaia and Irene van Dyk show off their gold medals winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
New Zealand players Maria Tutaia and Irene van Dyk show off their gold medals winning the netball final at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

When Ruth Aitken named the Silver Ferns starting line-up for the Commonwealth Games final against Australia, Anna Scarlett couldn't have dreamt she'd play such a big role.

Maybe that's why she was so elated when the Kiwis beat Australia 66-64 in what will likely be remembered as the best game of international netball ever played.

After two periods of extra time, a winner could still not be decided so the teams continued to play until the Ferns had their two goal margin.

Lauren Nourse
THREADING THE NEEDLE: Australian midcourter Lauren Nourse forces a pass through the arm of Silver Ferns defender Joline Henry during the gold medal netball game at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

It was the second time the Games' final has gone to extra time after Australia beat New Zealand 57-55 after extra time in Manchester.

Aitken said self belief had been the key to winning.

"I think probably in the end it was belief and where this team has come to," she said.

"They absolutely believe in each other and in the end it's just sheer doggedness really. They did not want to give it away, I felt very proud."

Scarlett started on the bench and was restricted to cheerleading duties until she was called on to play hero at halftime.

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Scarlett, and Liana Barrett-Chase, replaced veterans Joline Henry and Temepara George.

Aitken chose commonsense over sentiment to make the changes as her team were 23-20 down midway through the gold medal game.

Scarlett grabbed two intercepts immediately after coming on the court and was the catalyst in the Silver Ferns turning a three goal deficit into a two goal advantage by three quarter time.

She plucked another at the start of the final spell as the Kiwis stretched their lead to as many as seven.

And as quickly as she came on, she was off again. An injured finger looking like it had put paid to her final.

The Ferns were up 40-34 at that stage and looked sure to have defended their gold medal won in Melbourne.

But without Scarlett's height, the Diamonds were able to feed their shooters easier and bridged the gap, eventually forcing two periods of seven minute extra time.

Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation, but two of the most experienced players on court, Irene van Dyk and Catherine Cox, both missed in the final minute.

With extra time came the return of Scarlett.

The Diamonds again struggled to feed their strong shooters and the Ferns got out to a two goal lead.

After the second period of extra time, the scores were still locked, this time at 59-59 meaning the teams continue to play until one side had a two goal margin.

Cox again had a chance to win it but missed a midrange shot.

After eight extra minutes 82 in total, Maria Tutaia - who had taken the Ferns' last six shots, snatched the win for New Zealand with a long rang bomb to break the Australian hearts.

Tutaia was magnificent in the clutch, landing those series of crucial shots until the final one brought a boilover of emotion and relief for New Zealand - and grief for Australia.

Tutaia feared she might not be able to carry on much longer.

"I'm just so stoked, my calves were cramping up, that's why I was getting a bit worried," she said.

"I'll tell you what, I can't even talk. We all came together, we knew it was going to be a game like this, I think the game went more than an hour-and-a-half."

Scarlett was the first there to congratulate her.

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