2006 – COMMONWEALTH GAMES (Melbourne)

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    (12 teams)

    Format: 2 pools of 6, classification games, semis and finals

    • Posts: 12495

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    AVELLINO, Natalie
    BROADBENT, Alison
    CHATFIELD, Bianca
    COX, Catherine
    FUHRMANN, Susan
    GILSENAN, Selina
    ILITCH, Janine
    MCMAHON, Sharelle (captain)
    PRATLEY, Susan
    SHYNN, Jessica
    VON BERTOUCH, Natalie
    Coach: Norma Plummer

    ALLEYNE, Denise
    BISHOP, Lydia
    BLACKMAN, Latonia
    BROWNE, Jacqueline
    BROWNE, Laurel
    BROWNE, Samantha
    HARDING, Alicia
    LOUIS, Irecka
    PHILLIPS, Julie (captain)
    SEALY, Janelle
    SHEPHERD, Chekirah
    Coach: Anna Shepherd

    AGBEZE, Ama
    ATKINSON, Karen
    BROWNFIELD, Louisa
    CLARKE, Jade
    COOKEY, Pamela
    DUNN, Rachel
    EZEOGU, Chioma
    MENTOR, Geva
    MKOLOMA, Sonia
    MURPHY, Olivia (captain)
    SIDDALL, Naomi
    TEARE, Abby
    Coach: Marg Caldow

    BERESO, Maria
    GALUINADI, Venina
    RABUKA, Mere
    RARA, Taraima
    RATUMAISALA, Anasimeci
    ROKOURA, Unaisi (co-captain)
    SHAW, Matelita
    TUIKORO, Hannah
    TUISASA, Laniana
    TUWAI, Mere
    WAQANIDROLA, Matila (co-captain)
    Coach: Megan Simpson

    AIKEN, Nicole
    BRYAN, Nadine
    CAMPBELL, Marion
    DAVIS, Elaine (captain)
    EVERING, Kasey
    FFRENCH, Jodi
    FORBES, Simone
    GIBSON, Nichala
    HYLTON, Tamara
    THOMAS, Latoya
    THOMAS, Peter Gaye
    Coach: Maureen Hall

    CHAWINGA, Peace
    KAPATUKA, Annie
    KAYIRA, Esther
    KAYIRA, Judith
    MAGOMBO, Linda
    MALENGA, Slyvia
    MOPIHA, Annie
    MTUKULE, Carol
    MTUNDUWATHA, Ziwanji
    MZAGADA, Emma
    NKHOMA, Esther
    WAYA, Mary (captain)
    Coach: Griffin Saenda

    COLLING, Belinda
    DAVU, Vilimaina
    DE BRUIN, Leana
    GEORGE, Temepara
    LANGMAN, Laura
    ROWBERRY, Anna
    SCARLETT, Anna
    TUKI, Jessica
    TUTAIA, Maria
    VAN DYK, Irene
    WILLIAMS, Casey
    WILSON, Adine (captain)
    Coach: Ruth Aitken

    FUIMAONO, Monika
    HARDER, Opheira
    INU, Aloma
    LATU, Cathrine
    PEREIRA, Akenehe
    SOLIA, Frances (captain)
    SOLIA, Geradine
    SUAFOA, Lorna
    TOFILAU, Monalisa
    VAAI, Ida
    WILLIAMS, Brooke
    Coach: Linda Vagana

    GUMEDE, Sindisiwe
    GWAVU, Nontle
    HELMAND, Lizanne
    HERTZOG, Charlene (captain)
    MALUSI, Simnikiwe
    MARKGRAAFF, Christine
    MDODANA, Zanele
    MOABI, Nthabiseng
    MOSOAHLE, Martha
    NIEMAND, Adele
    VENTER, Karin
    ZACKEY, Leigh-Ann
    Coach: Marlene Wagner

    CHAN, Pearline (captain)
    CHEN, Huifen
    HENG, Wei
    HIRUBALAN, Premila
    LI, Ling
    LIN, Qingyi
    LOO, Puay
    NG, Joo
    SIM, Qiao
    TAN, Hui
    TAN, Lee
    ZHANG, Tingjun
    Coach: Kate Carpenter

    ADAMS, Jacintha
    ANDREWS, Genella
    DIAMOND, Saska
    DUNCAN, Dellerice (captain)
    GORDON, Galeine
    GORDON, Marcia
    KING, Annette
    LEWIS, Leeanna
    SAMUEL, Annella
    SANDY, Nicole
    WISEMAN, Michelle
    Coach: Godfrey Harry

    ABBOTT, Jamilla
    ACE, Rhiannon
    BAXTER, Sophie
    BOWERS, Ursula (captain)
    DRANE, Suzanne
    EVANS, Amanda
    HALE, Sara
    JAMES, Lynda
    JAMES, Rebecca
    LEWIS, Nicola
    MAYES, Anna
    SZEHOFNER, Nicola
    Coach: Julia Longville

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    The Age

    MEGAN Dehn announced last month she was packing her bags and heading to New Zealand for a season in the Kiwis’ domestic competition. The Sydney Swifts goal shooter had just overcome the devastation of being cut from the Australian netball squad last December and was seeking new challenges.

    The wheel has turned full circle for Dehn, who yesterday was named as a member of the 12-player team for next month’s Commonwealth Games, where Australia will try to continue its record as the only nation to have won the gold medal in the event.

    Although she had worked hard to maintain her fitness, Dehn had not expected to gain her second chance. Even when fellow shooter Eloise Southby-Halbish was forced out of the team with an ankle injury last week, the 31-year-old did not allow herself to believe she might return to the squad.

    “I had totally given up hope and had managed in the last six weeks to put it all behind me and move onto other things and start to think about the next phase of my life, so I had definitely given up hope,” she said.

    Yesterday, Dehn should have been in Fiji meeting her new teammates from Kiwi club North Harbour Force for a training camp. Instead, she was in Canberra with Australian coach Norma Plummer being introduced as part of the new-look national side.

    “I was absolutely devastated when I missed out in December – I was lucky that I had a wedding to organise,” Dehn said. “I was on the biggest possible low ever and that was the biggest high ever, and I was just settling in to that life and trying to get over (non-selection) and then all of a sudden I was called back in and one week later I am in – it’s been crazy,” said Dehn, better known by her maiden name, Anderson.

    “I don’t think it has sunk in yet – I am still shocked about it. I can’t believe it; I am so happy.”

    Australia goes into the Games with a team that contains a mixture of experience and youth. Although Dehn has played 15 Tests, she is one of eight players who have not competed at a Commonwealth Games.

    The team will be led by Sharelle McMahon, with Catherine Cox as the vice-captain and only two other players – defenders Alison Broadbent and Janine Ilitch – part of the winning outfit from Manchester.

    “It is a blend of senior players and experience, with the younger players who are going to go to their first Commonwealth Games. I think we have four that have been there and the other eight haven’t,” national coach Plummer said.

    While “certain factors forced that issue”, namely injuries to senior players, Plummer has warned rivals not to underestimate her team. “New Zealand haven’t got the gold around their neck yet, so don’t write these kids out – they are absolutely tuned and ready to have a go,” she said.

    Missing out on selection for the squad of 15 that had been training since mid-December are Kate Beveridge, Melbourne Kestrels defender Rebecca Strachan and Laura von Bertouch.

    Plummer has chosen two international debutantes for the team – 21-year-old Susan Pratley and 19-year-old Susan Fuhrmann, who has overcome a knee reconstruction.

    Plummer believes both can cope with the pressure of a Commonwealth Games tournament. The coach said Pratley, a goal shooter, had enjoyed outstanding recent form. “She is a kid who can adjust to most situations,” she said.

    Fuhrmann, a defender who stands 196 centimetres, will be the youngest and tallest member of the Australian team. “Yes, she is very green, but the greenish tinge is only brought on by her enthusiasm, and her work ethic is fantastic,” Plummer said.

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    By David Leggat

    Jodi Te Huna reckons she’s cried a year of tears in the last 72 hours.

    The gifted goal attack was running round in the dying minutes of a Silver Ferns training game against the Victorian men’s team at the weekend. She leapt to grab a pass, no one within cooee, but a regulation landing went awry with disastrous consequences.

    She has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee, a similar injury to that which put fellow Silver Fern Anna Rowberry’s career on hold soon after the world championship win in Jamaica two years ago. The initial prognosis is nine months’ recuperation.

    The Diamonds ace flew home last night and will watch the Silver Ferns set out for the Commonwealth Games gold medal from the comfort of her couch at home in Auckland.

    Comfort might be the wrong word. Te Huna, who made her Silver Ferns debut in 2004, has had a Games gold in her mind for months and had formed a cutting-edge operation with deadeye goal shoot Irene van Dyk in the attacking circle.

    Her place has gone to Otago Rebels’ rising talent Jessica Tuki, a member of last year’s world championship-winning national under-21 team.

    Te Huna cut a forlorn figure at courtside yesterday in suburban McLeod. She sat with her taped-up knee resting horizontally on a seat taking statistical notes as her teammates went through match drills with the New Zealand A squad.

    “It was one of those freaky things you can’t blame on anyone – as much as you’d like to,” she said. The tears may have dried but there was no hiding the frequent catches in her throat as she relived the experience yesterday.

    “The last 72 hours have been quite devastating. I’ve had dodgy ankles in the past but I’ve always prided myself on having really good knees. It’s just all the work you’ve put in, for it to go in one moment is pretty hard to accept.”

    She hopes to be back in Melbourne as a face in the stand as New Zealand meet Australia in the marquee final on March 26 – barring an upset of hold-the-front-page proportions.

    As for 19-year-old Tuki, she had that drop-jaw, gee whizz air about her after she’d completed her first session as a fully-fledged Games squad member yesterday.

    The New Plymouth-born teenager was called aside late on Monday night and given the news. Then she slept “like a baby”, which suggests a cool-headed addition to the squad.

    “I’m excited and nervous all at the same time but I’m looking forward to it and making the most of it,” she said. Coach Ruth Aitken has four shooting options – van Dyk, versatile Belinda Colling, Maria Tutaia and Tuki.

    Aitken described Tuki as “an exciting young shooter who shows great maturity in her game”.

    Much the same was said of Te Huna not long ago.

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    POOL 1

    (van Dyk 48/49, Tutaia 24/26, Colling 18/21, Tuki 8/16)
    (Gordon 27/34, Christopher 2/3, Sandy 2/4)

    ENGLAND 63 def MALAWI 47
    (Dunn 23/33, Brownfield 19/28, Cookey 13/14, Teare 8/12)
    (Magombo 34/41, Waya 11/17, Chawinga 1/1, Mopiha 1/1)

    ENGLAND 60 def FIJI 41
    (Dunn 30/36, Cookey 24/35, Teare 6/9)
    (Shaw 24/30, Rara 17/23)

    (Magombo 30/36, Waya 27/31)
    (Gumede 43/55, Helmand 13/18)

    (Gumede 41/49, Markgraaff 31/41, Helmand 6/8, Moabi 2/2)
    (Gordon 18/23, Sandy 9/13, Christopher 7/10)

    NEW ZEALAND 80 def FIJI 26
    (van Dyk 32/35, Tutaia 32/38, Tuki 9/13, Colling 7/8)
    (Rara 10/15, Shaw 9/12, Tuisasa 6/8, Bereso 1/4)

    MALAWI 53 def FIJI 52
    (Magombo 33/35, Waya 20/24)
    (Rara 28/35, Shaw 24/27)

    ENGLAND 78 def ST VINCENT 18
    (Brownfield 26/30, Teare 16/20, Dunn 14/15, Cookey 13/17, Agbeze 9/17)
    (Christopher 14/19, Sandy 2/5, Gordon 2/7)

    MALAWI 66 def ST VINCENT 44
    (Magombo 48/50, Mzagada 15/19, Waya 3/4)
    (Gordon 36/40, Sandy 5/8, Lewis 3/6)

    (van Dyk 44/48, Colling 16/21, Tutaia 14/19)
    (Gumede 30/35, Markgraaff 6/8, Helmand 1/3)

    SOUTH AFRICA 56 def FIJI 51
    (Gumede 40/46, Helmand 10/13, Markgraaff 6/6)
    (Shaw 29/35, Rara 20/23, Bereso 2/4)

    (van Dyk 46/49, Colling 9/12)
    (Brownfield 17/18, Cookey 14/20, Teare 5/9, Dunn 4/5)

    FIJI 58 def ST VINCENT 44
    (Shaw 32/38, Tuisasa 26/28)
    (Gordon 26/33, Christopher 15/16, Sandy 3/5)

    NEW ZEALAND 67 def MALAWI 39
    (van Dyk 38/43, Tutaia 19/21, Colling 6/6, Tuki 4/9)
    (Magombo 36/42, Mzagada 2/4, Chawinga 1/2)

    (Brownfield 47/53, Teare 12/17, Cookey 8/10)
    (Gumede 27/33, Markgraaff 6/9, Helmand 2/7)

    1. New Zealand
    2. England
    3. Malawi
    4. South Africa
    5. Fiji
    6. St Vincent


    POOL 2

    (Davis 25/32, Thomas 23/26, Forbes 11/14, Ffrench 8/10)
    (Tan 10/14, Li 7/10, Chen 3/5, Heng 2/5)

    AUSTRALIA 78 def WALES 22
    (Pratley 25/27, McMahon 20/20, Cox 20/28, Anderson 13/16)
    (James 13/22, Ace 5/9, Lewis 3/7, Abbott 1/3)

    SAMOA 76 def SINGAPORE 33
    (Latu 44/51, Fuimaono 15/16, Faasavalu 13/17, Vaai 3/7, Tofilau 1/1)
    (Heng 12/15, Li 9/11, Tan 8/8, Chan 2/2, Chen 2/4)

    JAMAICA 69 def BARBADOS 30
    (Thomas 25/32, Davis 22/28, Forbes 22/30)
    (Bishop 18/26, L.Browne 12/18)

    (Cox 30/37, Pratley 20/21, McMahon 15/17, Anderson 5/9)
    (Bishop 14/23, L.Browne 13/15)

    SAMOA 49 def WALES 42
    (Latu 40/44, Faasavalu 9/16)
    (James 31/41, Evans 11/18)

    JAMAICA 74 def WALES 21
    (Davis 46/56, Forbes 24/26, Ffrench 4/5)
    (James 16/24, Lewis 4/6, Abbott 1/1)

    (L.Browne 37/40, Bishop 14/20)
    (Tan 22/32, Li 14/19, Heng 4/7)

    AUSTRALIA 78 def SAMOA 47
    (Pratley 28/30, Cox 20/25, McMahon 18/20, Anderson 12/13)
    (Fuimaono 27/36, Faasavalu 13/21, Latu 7/10)

    WALES 45 def SINGAPORE 36
    (Ace 22/30, James 13/19, Abbott 10/20, Lewis 0/1)
    (Tan 24/31, Heng 11/13, Li 1/7)

    SAMOA 45 def BARBADOS 41
    (Fuimaono 28/41, Faasavalu 17/23)
    (Bishop 27/33, Blackman 7/8, L.Browne 7/11)

    AUSTRALIA 54 drew with JAMAICA 54
    (McMahon 27/33, Pratley 14/18, Cox 13/17)
    (Davis 37/40, Forbes 17/19)

    WALES 55 def BARBADOS 34
    (James 38/43, Ace 17/28)
    (Bishop 21/24, Blackman 8/15, L.Browne 5/5)

    (Cox 44/51, Anderson 35/42, McMahon 17/20, Pratley 11/11)
    (H.Tan 9/18, Heng 5/9, Li 4/5, Chen 1/2, W.Tan 0/1)

    JAMAICA 60 def SAMOA 47
    (Davis 43/46, Forbes 17/18)
    (Latu 45/49, Faasavalu 2/6)

    1. Australia
    2. Jamaica
    3. Samoa
    4. Wales
    5. Barbados
    6. Singapore



    When your goalshooter stands as straight and tall as a coconut palm on a Montego Bay beach, it makes sense to use the most direct aerial route to goal.

    That’s how the Jamaicans used their 190 cm captain Elaine Davis against Australia tonight, and it very nearly caused the boilover of the Commonwealth Games netball tournament.

    Whenever they were stuck for attacking ideas – and even when they weren’t – the Jamaicans simply lobbed the ball into the air and let their captain’s telescopic arms do the rest.

    Jamaica stormed home in the final quarter, making up a nine-goal deficit to snatch a 54-54 draw with just seconds left on the clock.

    It was among the most dramatic finishes to an international match since Australia’s overtime victory against New Zealand in the 2002 Games final in Manchester, and could have a crucial bearing on the semifinal lineups.

    The Australian player with the unenviable task of keeping Davis quiet was goalkeeping mother-of-two Janine Ilitch, who was giving away seven centimetres in height to Davis, who finished with 37 of her team’s points.

    “She’s quite tall and she holds really well in the circle,” said Ilitch who has made a stunning comeback to the national team after the birth of her second child just six months ago. You have to try to move around her body and come in at the front so you can have a go at the ball.”

    There is another way to stop players like Davis – cut off their source of supply. “We tried to put pressure on the outside of the circle and cut down the feeds,” Ilitch said.

    The 34-year-old defender said she thought the Australians were “home and hosed” in the final quarter. “It just leaves an empty feeling,” she said. “We were nine goals up; I don’t know what happened. We will be watching the last quarter again tonight for sure.”

    The gulf between the top nations and the rest is a huge one in netball, and the Australians had been racking up one walkover after another until tonight, beating Wales 78-22, Barbados 70-27 and Samoa 78-47.

    All of a sudden their final pool match tomorrow against lowly Singapore assumes greater significance, as goal percentage is now likely to decide whether Australia can avoid arch rival New Zealand in the semis.

    No matter when they meet, tonight’s experience will stand Ilitch in good stead. New Zealand shooter Irene Van Dyk also stands at 190cm.

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    11th/12th PLAYOFF:

    (Gordon 27/32, Christopher 22/23, Sandy 3/4)
    (Tan 30/50, Heng 9/15, Li 7/9)


    9th/10th PLAYOFF:

    FIJI 69 def BARBADOS 45
    (Rara 50/55, Shaw 19/24)
    (Bishop 24/31, Agard-Belgrave 16/20, L.Browne 4/5, Alleyne 1/1)


    7th/8th PLAYOFF:

    SOUTH AFRICA 46 def WALES 43
    (Markgraaff 28/38, Gumede 11/11, Helmand 6/12, Moabi 1/1)
    (James 31/41, Ace 12/19)


    5th/6th PLAYOFF:

    SAMOA 53 def MALAWI 50
    (Fuimaono 43/52, Faasavalu 10/15)
    (Magombo 44/50, Mzagada 3/3, Chawinga 3/10)

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    (18-7, 32-17, 48-28, 61-41)

    GS . van Dyk
    GA . Colling
    WA . Wilson
    C … George
    WD . Langman
    GD . Scarlett
    GK . Davu

    3rd Q . Williams GD (Scarlett)
    4th Q . Scarlett GD (Williams), Tutaia GA (Colling), Rowberry C (George).

    Shooting stats:
    van Dyk . 48/51 (94%)
    Colling . 10/14 (71%)
    Tutaia . 3/5 (60%)
    Total . 61/70 (87%)

    GS . Davis
    GA . Forbes
    WA . Hylton
    C … Bryan
    WD . Gibson
    GD . Pitterson-Dunn
    GK . Evering

    During 1st Q. Ffrench WA (Hylton)
    During 1st Q. Campbell WA (Ffrench)

    Shooting stats:
    Davis . 27/31 (87%)
    Forbes . 14/18 (78%)
    Total . 41/49 (84%)

    Umpires: Sharon Kelly and Michelle Phipard



    (14-8, 25-17, 35-24, 52-40)

    GS . Cox
    GA . McMahon
    WA . Avellino
    C … Shynn
    WD . Gilsenan
    GD . Ilitch
    GK . Chatfield

    3rd Q . Pratley GS (Cox), von Bertouch C (Shynn), Broadbent GD (Ilitch)
    4th Q . Ilitch GD (Broadbent)

    Shooting stats:
    McMahon . 27/31 (87%)
    Pratley . 15/18 (83%)
    Cox . 10/14 (71%)
    Total . 52/63 (83%)

    GS . Brownfield
    GA . Cookey
    WA . Atkinson
    C … Murphy
    WD . Clarke
    GD . Mkoloma
    GK . Mentor

    2nd Q . Teare GA (Cookey)
    3rd Q . Dunn GS (Brownfield)
    4th Q . Cookey GS (Dunn), Agbeze GK (Mentor), Clarke to C, Murphy to WD

    Shooting stats:
    Teare . 15/23 (65%)
    Brownfield . 9/14 (64%)
    Cookey . 9/15 (60%)
    Dunn . 7/11 (64%)
    Total . 40/63 (63%)

    Umpires: Mandy Nottingham and Chris Campbell

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    ENGLAND WON 53-52
    (10-18, 22-29, 38-40, 53-52)

    GS . Dunn
    GA . Cookey
    WA . Atkinson
    C … Murphy
    WD . Clarke
    GD . Mkloma
    GK . Mentor

    2nd Q . Agbeze GK (Mentor), Teare GS (Dunn), Murphy to WD, Clarke to C
    3rd Q . Teare to GA, Cookey to GS

    Shooting Stats:
    Teare . 30/36 (83%)
    Cookey . 17/29 (59%)
    Dunn . 6/10 (60%)
    Total . 53/75 (71%)

    GS . Davis
    GA . Forbes
    WA . Hylton
    C … Bryan
    WD . Gibson
    GD . Pitterson
    GK . Evering

    3rd Q . Campbell WA (Hylton)
    4th Q . Hylton WA (Campbell)

    Shooting stats:
    Davis . 46/52 (88%)
    Forbes . 6/9 (67%)
    Total . 52/61 (85%)

    Umpires: Sharon Kelly and Mandy Nottingham



    England’s netballers claimed a bronze at the Commonwealth Games after a dramatic 53-52 victory over Jamaica. England trailed 29-22 at the halfway stage but some pinpoint shooting from Abby Teare cut the gap to just one by the end of the third quarter. And with less than a minute to go, Teare scored the winner to reverse the result of the 2002 third-place play-off when Jamaica won.

    After missing out on a medal four years ago, England captain Olivia Murphy was satisfied with the team’s showing at the Games. “We had sight our sights on getting to the final and if we had played like we did today we would have been very close to Australia if not beaten them, Murphy told BBC Sport. “This is a bit of a consolation. We want to improve on what we have done here at the World Championships next year and keep performing as we have.

    “We were so disappointed four years ago and we wanted to go out and win it today. Everyone came out and knew what it would take and that’s what we did. There was no point going out thinking of revenge we had to focus on our performance and that is what we did.”

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    Sun Herald

    SO it has come to this, just as we always thought it would – the defending Commonwealth Games champions, Australia, and reigning world champions, New Zealand, will today duel for the last gold medal of the Games.

    New Zealand reached the final emphatically, with a 20-goal defeat of Jamaica, while Australia followed with a more testing 52-40 semi-final scramble past world No.4 England.

    The only real surprise of these Games came through the Australia-Jamaica draw in the pool matches. Last night brought a slight scare for the locals, but no lasting damage.

    Australia have beaten England in 44 of their 45 attempts, and if this was not one of the more commanding displays, there was plenty to like about the recovery and much to admire about England, coached by Australian Marg Caldow and featuring Melbourne-raised goal attack Abby Teare.

    Australia are aware that there is even better opposition to come, and further improvement needed. The fitness concern is vice-captain Cath Cox, who was sidelined for most of the second half with a groin injury.

    “We’re very aware that we’re the underdog and New Zealand have got the crown – they’ve had it since 2003,” said a slightly subdued Australian coach Norma Plummer. “We know we’ve got to put four quarters together and be consistent with it.

    “We’re still in and out too much at the moment. We’ve got a big night to think about it.”

    Plummer juggled her line-up with Australia ahead 25-17 at half-time, introducing Alison Broadbent in place of Janine Ilitch at goal defence, substituting the fresh legs of Natalie von Bertouch for Jessica Shynn at centre and switching shooters Cox and captain Sharelle McMahon – who had a huge workload and scored 27 goals on the night.

    But an urgent revision was needed when England scored the first four goals of the quarter. Plummer responded by benching the injured Cox for rookie Susan Pratley and shifting McMahon back out to goal attack.

    England drew within three before Australia settled, with Pratley showing fine composure and scoring 15 goals from 18 attempts to draw Plummer’s praise in the biggest match of her short career.

    Now for New Zealand. Australia, the only nation to win Commonwealth gold, may not be quite at the zenith of their powers, but the trans-Tasman neighbours still rule the netball world, and this tournament will end with the same two finalists as so many others have done.

    Australia have won 45 and drawn two of the teams’ previous 76 matches, including both previous Commonwealth Games finals, but lost the two most recent, including a record 61-36 drubbing in Auckland in late October.

    The ever-diplomatic Ferns captain Adine Wilson predicted a fierce and close contest, like so many in the past.

    “Australia are always a huge force, and particularly in the big games,” Wilson said. “Australia have often pulled it out under pressure, so there’s no way we’re going to be resting on our laurels because we know they’ll give it everything they’ve got to beat us.”

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    (14-19, 29-36, 41-46, 55-60)

    GS . Cox
    GA . McMahon
    WA . Avellino
    C … Shynn
    WD . Gilsenan
    GD . Ilitch
    GK . Chatfield

    3rd Q . Broadbent GD (Ilitch)
    During 4th Q . N von Bertouch C (Avellino), Pratley GA (Cox), Shynn to WA, McMahon to GS

    Shooting Stats:
    Cox . 31/38 (82%)
    McMahon . 22/28 (79%)
    Pratley . 2/2 (100%)
    Total . 55/68 (81%)

    GS . van Dyk
    GA . Colling
    WA . Wilson
    C … George
    WD . Langman
    GD . Scarlett
    GK . Davu

    3rd Q . Williams GD (Scarlett)

    Shooting stats:
    van Dyk . 44/49 (90%)
    Colling . 16/18 (89%)
    Total . 60/67 (90%)

    Umpires: Chris Campbell and Marion Johnson-Hurley



    2 Australia
    3 England

    4 Jamaica
    5 Samoa
    6 Malawi
    7 South Africa
    8 Wales
    9 Fiji
    10 Barbados
    11 St Vincent
    12 Singapore

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    Feb 3, 2007

    Linda Pearce

    The era of Australia’s netball dominance officially closed at the 2003 world championships and, yesterday, its last major title fell into New Zealand’s eager hands. Yet yesterday’s gold-medal match also confirmed that while Australia may be in the unfamiliar role of pursuer, it is just a couple of breaths behind.

    New Zealand won yet another absorbing trans-Tasman final 60-55 at Vodafone Arena to relegate the two-time defending champion to Commonwealth Games silver for the first time. It was, captain Sharelle McMahon said, a ‘devastating’ result for Australia, which has lost wing attack Natalie Avellino to international retirement and may yet find that defenders Janine IIitch and Alison Broadbent go the same way.

    The gold medal playoffs in the previous two games could hardly have been more dramatic, with a one-goal win to Australia in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and the double-overtime drama of Manchester four years ago contributing so much to the build-up this time. Although not as tight, the match was closer than anticipated, and did not disappoint.

    It included one stretch of 16 unbroken centre passes, and the quarter-time deficit was also the final margin. Australia had one more attempt at goal overall but, for all its tenacity and desperation to keep it’s unbeaten Games record intact, could not trim the difference to below three goals after falling behind by seven early in the game.

    “We certainly had our chances, and you can claw a few things back but you can’t then give away some easy passes I felt we should have nailed,” coach Norma Plummer said. “But in the end that could be the pressure of the game, and so congratulations to New Zealand, a well deserved win.”

    So it was, and it was also a typically worthy encounter between two teams that have set and maintained such a high standard. Indeed, the record 61-36 result in New Zealand’s favour in the previous match in Auckland four months ago was far more exception than rule.

    “It’s obviously really, really disappointing (because) we felt, as a group, we’ve come a long way over the last three months,” said captain Sharelle McMahon, whose every step and scoring attempt were hassled and pressured by the formidable Silver Ferns’ defence.

    “Obviously the last time we came up against New Zealand it was a big blowout so we’ve done a lot of hard work on our game. I’m extremely proud of the Aussie girls and how they’ve carried themselves this whole week. Unfortunately we just didn’t quite get there and everyone’s devastated, but we’re also very proud to have received a silver medal.”

    McMahon scored 22 goals at 79 per cent, yet the pressure over the shot exerted by Vili Davu, Anna Scarlett and her second-half replacement Casey Williams helps to explain some of the difference in shooting accuracy that, on paper, also helped to decide the match.

    Meanwhile, Ferns’ scoring machine Irene Van Dyk was fed beautifully by midcourters Temepara George and Adine Wilson, Van Dyk rarely finding herself further more than a few steps from the post, and nailing 44 goals from 49 attempts (15 without a miss in the first quarter) against the gallant but undersized Bianca Chatfield. Australia managed just one defensive rebound, but there are few to be had when the opposition’s conversion rate is 90 per cent.

    More significant was the fact that Australia made more than twice as many passing errors, 22 to 10, although it was the timing more than the number that mattered most. Each time the Australians reached the three-goal threshold they could go no further, whether through an over-ambitious feed into the circle or a mistake further down the court.

    With so little between the teams after New Zealand’s early burst, positional changes were limited, with both teams interchanging fresh a goal defence at half-time (Williams for Scarlett and Broadbent for Ilitch) but neither bench used again until just less than five minutes remained, when Australia trailed by six. Although no ground was being lost, no headway was being made, either.

    Cath Cox, having scored 31 goals at 82 per cent, was removed for Susan Pratley, with McMahon pushed back to goal shooter, Jess Shynn moved to wing attack and the speedier Natalie Von Bertouch introduced at centre. There was a last effort, and the New Zealand lead was cut to (yes) three, but once more Australia could get no closer.

    Earlier, England had overrun Jamaica 53-52 in the final seconds to reverse another result from Manchester and take the bronze medal, former Victorian Abby Teare scoring the winning goal in an outstanding performance for her adopted country to spark a frenzied on-court celebration.

    The Australians, in contrast, were a subdued bunch at the medal presentation, but although the gold medal was lost, plenty had still been gained, and injured captain Liz Ellis, shooter Cynna Neele and defender Mo’onia Gerard are all likely to return for next year’s world championships in Fiji.

    “We’re certainly on the way back,” Plummer said. “We’ve still got some options and we’re certainly on our way to blooding some younger ones now.”

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    Feb 3, 2007

    By Greg Tourelle

    At last the Silver Ferns are golden.

    The New Zealand netballers added Commonwealth Games gold medals to their world championship title today with a thrilling 60-55 win over arch foes Australia at Melbourne’s Multi Purpose Venue.

    In the end, Kiwi flair through the court and the great reach of sharpshooter Irene van Dyk won out, but they had to fight for every point against an Australian side determined to turn it into a dogfight. It was physical, it was tough, but there was no doubt the better team won on the day.

    This was a victory to savour after the heartbeat-interrupting losses to the Australians in the two previous Games netball contests – at Kuala Lumpur in 1988 and Manchester four years ago when the game went into double overtime.

    And it was payback for team stalwarts Belinda Colling and reserve Anna Rowberry who had to endure those two losses – and Irene van Dyk and Vilimaina Davu who were there in Manchester.

    The Silver Ferns went into the Games campaign as favourites after demolishing Australia 61-36 in Auckland in October, but no one expected the Australians would be that easy to roll this time.

    It was even to start with, but a third of the way through the first quarter, the Silver Ferns established a five-goal lead and held that to the break at 19-14, with van Dyk imperious in the shooting circle.

    New Zealand’s shooting made a key difference. The Silver Ferns shot 60 of their 67 attempts at goal while Australia had one more shot but managed 55. Van Dyk was her accurate self with 44 from 49 while Colling nailed 16 from 18. McMahon managed 22 from 28 and Cox 31 from 38.

    New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken admitted she felt the tension at several stages throughout the match, when Australia would surge to the backdrop of a deafening roar.

    “It’s heaven and hell all wrapped up in one really. But it’s the pinnacle for Kiwi netballers to play in a game like this. To come out on top is just stunning,” she said. “Australia came back as I knew they would. It was a brilliant game. I just thought we really kept our steel. There were a couple of times when we looked a little bit shaky but then we just went up a notch.”

    Aitken said the maturity of her side was apparent. They were able to keep their cool each time the scoreline narrowed. “When they powered back in that last quarter it was always ‘gosh, how’s the time going and how are we going?’ ” she said. “In the end, I think that we kept our basics. We kept meeting the ball, when we got tentative, that was when we were in trouble. In the end you have to be brave to win a game like this.”

    Aitken singled out veteran shooter Belinda Colling for her control around the circle and her shooting. Young defender Casey Williams also earned praise after replacing Anna Scarlett at halftime. “For Casey, that was her very first time playing the Australian seniors and I thought she did exceptionally well,” she said. “I think we’re in very good heart. But as we know Australia have made huge strides since last year and I’m sure they’ll be aiming to continue.”

    “We’ll enjoy this moment, take a breath and go back to National Bank Cup. Then start all over again.”

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    Feb 3, 2007

    By David Leggat
    NZ Herald

    It wasn’t always pretty, but it was efficient and the result was a golden flourish from the Silver Ferns to sign off New Zealand’s Commonwealth Games.

    The win had a bit of everything – moments of real tension, clever work, both nifty and ragged inter-passing and frequent bouts of physicality at both ends of the court which owed more to WWF wrestling than real sport – but there’s no question the Silver Ferns were worth the win.

    Why? Because when the heat went on from an Australian team, which toiled desperately but lacked polish at key moments, New Zealand responded. They held their nerve in an almost claustrophobic wall of noise from the raucous home fans.

    And in an arena where calm heads and clear thinking were vital, New Zealand coach Ruth Aitken reckoned her team should reserve their biggest backslaps for experienced goal attack Belinda Colling.

    Not only did Colling pot 16 of 18 shots at goal, belying her reputation as erratic under the net, but her coolness late in the match, and ability to take the heat off towering goal shoot Irene van Dyk were vital ingredients in New Zealand’s first Games title.

    “She does a lot of work that goes unnoticed,” Aitken said of Colling. “Certainly Irene is our finish girl and did well, but Belinda is a very crafty player, and you can’t teach that overnight.”

    Van Dyk succeeded with 44 of 49 attempts. It was not her finest hour, but consider that Australia put up one more shot at goal and her work becomes critical.

    Australian goal shoot, Whangarei-born Catherine Cox, managed 31 of 38 shots, stroppy captain and goal attack Sharelle McMahon 22 of 28.

    Netballers are fond of saying no player is more important than any other. But next behind Colling had to be van Dyk because the bottom line is to win the ball has to get through the hoop more often than it does at the other end. No one does it better than the game’s most celebrated player.

    Van Dyk had to cope with a bolshie defender in Bianca Chatfield. They had a rare old battle, at one point wrestling for the ball a couple of seconds after the whistle had blown and play had stopped.

    But van Dyk won’t bag Australia’s rough-house tactics. She’s used to it and quietly she probably knows that Vilimaina Davu’s ruggedly effective defensive work 30m away is often more bar room than balletic. “I won’t put the Aussies down,” van Dyk said. “They’re a team that can come out firing at any stage. They’re really gutsy.”

    So they were, as they clung on to prevent New Zealand easing clear. This was a far different Australian team from that sunk to a record defeat in Auckland last year. The midcourt clash was critical. Where Laura Langman, Temepara George and captain Adine Wilson were generally slick and thoughtful with their passing, Australia struggled.

    There was an element of throw and hope as the Australians pushed the envelope in a bid to bridge the gap on the scoreboard, which existed from the end of the first quarter.

    New Zealand were 36-19 ahead at halftime, Australia had their best quarter to trim the margin to five goals, 46-41, but apart from a brief heart flutter for Aitken as the gap closed to 57-54 with 1min 50s left, the Silver Ferns (provided they didn’t have a brain explosion) always had the whip hand.

    “You had to be brave to win a game like this,” Aitken said. “It was heaven and hell wrapped up in one.”

    Too right. A job well done.

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