The New Zealand netball team’s hopes of retaining their Commonwealth Games crown were extinguished in no uncertain fashion by Australia today.
Australia won the final 58-40, which in netball terms is a pasting.
Though it was 14-14 at quarter-time, the signs were there that the Australian shooters, Caitlin Bassett in particular, were not under enough pressure.
By halftime, Australia led 28-24 and the game was effectively over at three-quarter-time, when it was 43-32.
New Zealand coach Waimarama Taumaunu was hamstrung because her No 1 goal shoot, Cathrine Latu, was injured.
She tried all sorts of combinations, including bringing Latu on for the final quarter.
The New Zealand defence struggled throughout to stop the ball being fed to Bassett. Casey Kopua at goal defence and, for a while, at goal keep, was always energetic, but there didn’t seem to be the organisation required.
Bassett was a tower of strength for Australia. She had 53 attempts and succeeded with 49 of them, giving her a ratio of 92 per cent – outstanding for a netball final.
Goal attack Natalie Medhurst backed up Bassett well, scoring nine goals and doing good work around the circle.
The New Zealand shooters were never accurate enough.
Jodi Brown had 11 from 16 (69 per cent) and Maria Tutaia 22 from 31 (71 per cent). When she came on for the last quarter, Latu showed what might have been. She added energy to the attack and scored with all seven of her attempts.
“We never made it difficult for them to feed Bassett,” Taumaunu said. “We never made them work hard enough at that end and so they were never under enough pressure.”
Taumaunu said Australia were composed and skilful, but said she was very disappointed with the quality of New Zealand’s performance.
“We could not stop the Australian flow through the court. We had the opportunity to play for the gold and didn’t take it.”
New Zealand vice-captain Laura Langman, who put in her usual 100 per cent effort at centre, said it had been a big week for New Zealand.
“We’ve faced adversity with injuries and it’s taken its toll,” she said.
“They were full of class today. Their angles were good and their ball speed really undid us. They beat us well and truly.”
She said she was very disappointed with the margin of the defeat. “It doesn’t show the work we’ve done to get here, so it’s a bitterly disappointing result.”
Jamaica took the bronze medal by beating England 52-48. Therefore England, who went within one goal of beating both Australia and New Zealand, came away with no medal.