The Australian Diamonds have put on a clinical display in their opening match of the 2016 Netball Quad Series, defeating a spirited South African outfit, 68-43, in Auckland, New Zealand.
It was a night of team dominance and personal milestones for the World Champions, with the match welcoming two new Diamonds to the fold, as well as marking the international return of a former Liz Ellis Diamond recipient.
2016 ANZ Championship Australian Conference MVP Madi Robinson made her return to the Green & Gold for the first time since rupturing her ACL during the 2015 season; the injury subsequently saw Robinson miss last year’s international series, including the Netball World Cup SYDNEY 2015. And it was a perfect return for the Melbourne Vixens Captain, who was named Match MVP.
The Diamonds also welcomed two representatives to the Green & Gold, with 2016 NSW Swift Steph Wood (GA) and NSW junior Kristiana Manu’a (GK) both taking the court for the start of the fourth quarter to make their international debuts.
Australia led at every break and never looked in doubt of claiming the win; but credit to South Africa who continued to push their opponents until the final whistle. Proteas Head Coach – former Diamonds’ mentor Norma Plummer – paid tribute to her chargers’ commitment, despite facing an unyielding Diamonds outfit.
“I’m really pleased with their commitment, particularly leading up to half-time,” Plummer told Sky Sports commentators during the game.
“I can’t fault their efforts – they’re really trying, and as a coach that’s all you can ask.” Their efforts were evident as South Africa posted their highest scoring quarter – 13 goals – for the final 15 minutes.
Plummer’s counterpart and heir, Lisa Alexander, used the match to experiment with different combinations by heavily utilising her bench. All 12 athletes took the court at some point in the match, giving Alexander further insight into how the Diamonds team could look against England for their next contest.
The Diamonds will meet England (who are yet to play their first Quad Series test against New Zealand Silver Ferns) at Adelaide Entertainment Centre this Wednesday 31 August; first centre pass at 8:18pm AEST. Watch the game via OneHD, Fox Sports and the Netball Live App on delay with broadcast starting from 9:30pm AEST.
MVP: Madi Robinson (Australia)
AUS | Q1: 19 – Q2: 36 (17) – Q3: 50 (14) – Q4: 68 (18)
SA | Q1: 10 – Q2: 20 (10) – Q3: 30 (10) – Q4: 43 (13)
AUS: 68/75 @ 91%
C. Bassett: 28/30 @ 93%
N. Medhurst: 12/15 @ 80%
C. Thwaites: 23/23 @ 100%
S. Wood: 5/6 @ 83%
SA: 43/57 @ 75%
L. Potgieter: 30/37 @ 81%
L. Lombard: 6/9 @ 67%
R. Stolz: 711 @ 64%
AUS | GS Caitlin Bassett, GA Nat Medhurst, WA Madi Robinson, C Kim Ravaillion, WD Gabi Simpson, GD Clare McMeniman (C), GK Sharni Layton
SA | GS Lenize Potgieter, GA Lindie Lombard, WA Bongiwe Msomi (C), C Erin Burger, WD Precious Mthembu, GD Karla Mostert, GK Phumza Maweni
AUS | Q3: GS Caitlin Thwaites, C Liz Watson, WD McMeniman, GD April Brandley; Q4: GA Steph Wood, WD Simpson, GK Kristiana Manu’a.
SA | Q3: GA Renske Stolz, Q4 Timeout: C Izette Lubbe.