1998 – COMMONWEALTH GAMES (Kuala Lumpur)

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    (12 teams)
    Format: 2 pools of 6, then semis & finals

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    BORLASE, Jennifer
    CUSACK, Nicole
    ELLIS, Liz
    HARBY, Kath
    ILITCH, Janine
    MCKINNIS, Simone
    MCMAHON, Sharelle
    O’DONNELL, Shelley
    SANDERS, Rebecca
    SUTTER, Sarah
    TOMBS, Carissa
    WILSON, Vicki (Captain)
    Coach: Jill McIntosh

    ASPINALL, Karen
    LAW, Lorraine
    MANUFOR, Hellen
    MURPHY, Olivia
    MURTAGH, Fiona (Captain)
    NEVILLE, Tracey
    NEWTON, Amanda
    SDAO, Lucia
    SIDDALL, Naomi
    STANLEY, Lisa
    ZINZAN, Joanne

    BLAIR, Belinda
    COLLING, Belinda (Captain)
    DAWSON, Julie
    LOFFHAGEN, Donna
    MENE, Bernice
    NICOL, Leslie
    ROWBERRY, Anna
    STEED, Joanne
    SUAFOA, Lorna
    TAURUA, Noeline
    VAGANA, Linda
    Coach: Yvonne Willering

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    Sydney Morning Herald

    Only one nation among 27 finished below Malaysia at the most recent world championships. At the same event, three years ago in Birmingham, no team finished above Australia. The two countries this morning open the Games netball program. It will be one-sided. Perhaps embarrassingly so.

    While the Australians were training on Friday, two other battling teams, Sri Lanka and Canada, were playing a practice match on the adjoining court. Both would struggle to beat a competent Australian social team.

    Australia’s national team has lost only one match in four years against the best the Commonwealth can muster. Malaysia is the worst. But coach Jill McIntosh diplomatically insists the Malaysians have improved significantly recently.

    Mercifully, she was also realistic enough to concede that her fit and motivated team, intent on claiming the Games’ first netball gold, was expected to comfortably win its first match. “But it’s not going to be just one-sided,” McIntosh said, only half-convincingly. “I think they have improved tremendously over the last 12 months.”

    Australia, meanwhile, have maintained their top-dog status despite February’s rare loss to Jamaica, the team also expected to provide its stiffest opposition in five preliminary matches. South Africa are likely to await in the semi-finals, followed by New Zealand in Monday’s gold medal game.

    “And, in netball terms, that will represent the equal of a world championship, because the Kuala Lumpur field is the best available,” said vice- captain Shelley O’Donnell, who, with captain Vicki Wilson, plans to retire after next year’s world titles in Christchurch.

    A low-key beginning, with Malaysia followed by 13th-ranked Canada and No 11 Barbados will give McIntosh a chance to rotate her squad.

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    POOL A
    Australia 85 v Malaysia 17
    Jamaica 74 v Canada 36
    England 51 v Barbados 29
    Australia 85 v Canada 25
    England 52 v Jamaica 51
    Barbados 58 v Malaysia 30
    Australia 71 v Barbados 36
    England 62 v Canada 32
    Jamaica 83 v Malaysia 26
    England 63 v Malaysia 19
    Australia 70 v Jamaica 38
    Barbados 57 v Canada 44
    Canada 58 v Malaysia 28
    Jamaica 71 v Barbados 39
    Australia 66 v England 29

    1. Australia 10pts
    2. England 8pts

    3. Jamaica 6pts
    4. Barbados 4pts
    5. Canada 2pts
    6. Malaysia 0pts


    POOL B
    Wales 63 v Sri Lanka 45
    Cook Islands 64 v Malawi 63
    New Zealand 63 v South Africa 35
    New Zealand 92 v Sri Lanka 16
    South Africa 68 v Cook Islands 50
    Malawi 57 v Wales 50
    New Zealand 94 v Wales 21
    Cook Islands 82 v Sri Lanka 50
    South Africa 55 v Malawi 45
    Malawi 77 v Sri Lanka 24
    South Africa 66 v Wales 27
    New Zealand 90 v Cook Islands 28
    South Africa 91 v Sri Lanka 22
    Cook Islands 59 v Wales 59
    New Zealand 77 v Malawi 41

    1. New Zealand 10pts
    2. South Africa 8pts

    3. Cook Islands 5pts
    4. Malawi 4pts
    5. Wales 3pts
    6. Sri Lanka 0pts




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    The Age

    At last, the big moment. Six days of at times tedious preliminaries have officially confirmed what the rest of the competition already knew. Australia and New Zealand this morning meet to decide which of the world’s two best teams will become netball’s first Commonwealth gold medallist.

    On the Games predictability scale, the identity of the grand finalists ranks right up there with the latest cycling fiasco, the humid tropical heat and exorbitant bar prices at the main media hotel. Yet let that not detract from the occasion at Bukit Kiara, for the playoff should prove worth the wait.

    These are coaches and teams who know each other’s style and players backwards. They meet a minimum of once and a maximum of three times each year. Both are masters of the fast break, have height and speed down the court and abundant experience. The chief difference is the zone defence New Zealand often implements through the midcourt.

    So, although the Australians intended to spend some of their rest day watching videos of the Silver Ferns at work during the week, they were unlikely to see anything new. ‘We’ve played them enough now to know what they are up to,’ coach Jill McIntosh said. ‘It’s going to be a tough game and a close encounter, as they always are when we play New Zealand. It’s just good netball.’

    New Zealand coach Yvonne Willering had similar thoughts on the Games competition’s only two undefeated teams. ‘You’ve got to appreciate that Australia and New Zealand know each other’s game pretty well,’ she said.

    In that case, what exactly is there to know? Australia will almost certainly start with the seven who served McIntosh so well against Jamaica and South Africa in two of its three toughest matches so far. The only adjustment to the pre-tournament expectations among the seven is the inclusion of Sharelle McMahon, the 21-year-old Victorian in her first year at senior international level who has usurped Nicole Cusack at goal attack.

    McMahon and shooter Vicki Wilson have combined beautifully, McMahon improving with each match. In Saturday’s semi-final against South Africa, she outscored her captain 36-32 and registered a comparable accuracy rate to the great Queenslander. In an ageing team, McMahon has already grasped the baton and run with it before the multiple departures expected after next year’s world championships.

    The aggressive and powerful Shelley O’Donnell is a key at wing attack, and her influence was most notable in its absence for the first three quarters against England in the final preliminary round. The usual flow into attack was missing before the vice-captain was summoned to the court with Wilson and McMahon. The result: a 25-6 Australian finishing blitz that followed an unconvincing 13-11 third term.

    Carissa Tombs has had a fine week at centre, earning the coach’s praise early on for her defensive efforts that complemented the tireless efforts of back-line trio Simone McKinnis, Kathryn Harby and Liz Ellis.

    The Harby-Ellis circle partnership grows in stature and understanding the longer it goes, with Harby’s task today a big one against Belinda Colling.

    It is likely to be the last match for McKinnis, who is seriously considering retirement after a brilliant eight-year career at wing defence. If so, spectators should savor her unique anticipation and clean body control, for it may be a while before the world sees another like her.

    The only doubt over the New Zealand line-up is whether goal defence Belinda Blair or keeper Linda Vagana will share the defensive duties with Bernice Mene. Vagana adds height, but the feeling is that Mene, considered the Silver Ferns’ No. 1 stopper, may start back on Wilson, leaving Blair out front to try to match the athletic McMahon.

    That was the formula used in the first Test of this year’s series, which Australia won 3-0. Indeed, the Australians have lost only one of their past 18 matches against New Zealand.

    Neither team considers this match, which will determine the first Commonwealth Games gold medal, any less important.

    At last, the big moment. Expect it to be Australia’s, but count on it being close.

    Head-to-head: Australia 35, New Zealand 18, 2 draws.
    This year: Australia d New Zealand 58-47, 58-49, 52-48 in New Zealand.

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    (12-12, 24-19, 31-31, 42-39)


    GS . Wilson
    GA . McMahon
    WA . O’Donnell
    C … Tombs
    WD . McKinnis
    GD . Harby
    GK . Ellis

    3rd Q . Borlase GS (Wilson)
    During 3rd Q . Wilson GS (Borlase)

    Shooting stats:
    Wilson . 23/36 (64%)
    McMahon . 17/28 (61%)
    Borlase . 2/7 (28%)
    Total . 42/71 (59%)


    GS . Loffhagen
    GA . Colling
    WA . Rowberry
    C … Dawson
    WD . Nicol
    GD . Charteris
    GK . Mene


    Shooting stats:
    Loffhagen . 28/38 (74%)
    Colling . 11/17 (65%)
    Total . 39/55 (71%)

    Umpires: Maureen Boyle, Janice McKercha

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    Newcastle Herald

    At this moment it means everything.’

    Those were the words Australian netball captain Vicki Wilson used yesterday to describe her team’s historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

    The world No.1 side took the first-ever netball gold medal with the sport making its debut at the Games. Tagged as favourites the Australians never looked complacent in their lead-up matches, which was just as well. They had to fight every inch for the gold against long-term trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand.

    Australia was forced to claw its way to victory, coming back from a seemingly impenetrable three goal deficit with just minutes to spare to win 42-39. While the crowd had written Australia off, their coach Jill McIntosh didn’t for a minute. She has watched her team come back from 11 goals down before. It capped off a stunning debut for netball, with England taking the bronze from South Africa 56-54.

    Australia and New Zealand were both undefeated right through to their meeting in the final, Australia besting England, Barbados, Canada and home favourites Malaysia. They also ousted old foes Jamaica, avenging their upset 54-52 loss in February during a three-match friendly tournament.

    Wilson summed up the feeling in the Australian camp just minutes after they clinched the gold. ‘At this particular moment this means everything,’ Wilson said.

    It was one of those games that went right down to the wire and you couldn’t ask for a better finale. Australia now goes into next year’s World Cup in Christchurch as confirmed favourites. But McIntosh expects New Zealand will be looking to avenge their silver medal.

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    From Netball Australia:

    McIntosh reflects on 1998 Commonwealth Games Gold https://netball.com.au/mcintosh-reflects-on-1998-commonwealth-games-gold/

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    Feb 6, 2007

    Yikes – those shooting %’s!! Especially Australia. Their defence must’ve had to work overtime to get them so many opportunities. Or NZ’s was lacklustre in getting rebounds….
    Don’t recall seeing this game on TV at the time. Mind you TVNZ probably had the Broadcast rights and would’ve been showing something more important like Track and Field events.

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    Both the defences were on top. Bernice Mene was brilliant. Added to this, there was talk that the netball posts didn’t make it easy. Simone McKinnis had a terrific game too and got the touch in the last Q that helped Aust get in front and they held on to win.

    Here’s the Australian coverage thanks to Sebastian on YouTube…

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    Apr 23, 2011

    That is probably the best team Australia has ever fielded:

    Ellis, Harby, McKinnis, Tombs/Dalwood, O’Donnell, McMahon and Wilson are players who would walk into any national team, any time. There were no weak links – crikey we were spoiled

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    Apr 23, 2011

    That is probably the best team Australia has ever fielded:

    Ellis, Harby, McKinnis, Tombs/Dalwood, O’Donnell, McMahon and Wilson are players who would walk into any national team, any time. There were no weak links – crikey we were spoiled

    OK, that got me thinking, and I am not sure we have done this particular exercise before:
    Best Australian players of all time (OK TV era, really) by position

    GS: Wilson, Sergeant, Cox

    GA: McMahon, Daylight,  Medhurst

    WA: Browne/Robinson, O’Donnell

    C: Dalwood/Tombs, Nat von Bertouch

    WD: McKinnis,   Squire/Sholz

    GD: Corletto, Harby

    GK: Ellis, Geitz


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    GS – CBass Wilson Cox

    GA – McMahon Medhurst Cusack

    WA – O’Donnell Browne LVB

    C – Tombs NVB Rav

    WD – McKinnis Scholz Ingles

    GD – Corletto KHW Fielke

    GK – Ellis Geitz Devery

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