THERE was plenty of gold to match the Diamonds’ green as Australia won its 12th Netball World Cup. The Diamonds looked in trouble after going down to England and having to play a red-hot Jamaica, but as they always tend to do, they just found a way. There was a stage where failing to medal, or even settling for a bronze might be an option, but the Diamonds surged ahead to make the Gold Medal Match.
From there, they were always a chance, and the final ended up being more of a blowout than expected, with England fading late and the Diamonds enjoying the moment to win the title by 16 goals. Coming away with yet another international title, it means Australia currently holds all the world titles it can after dropping both the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup by a goal in the previous editions.
Group A: 1st (3-0, +172 goal difference)
defeated Zimbabwe by 56 goals (86-30)
defeated Tonga by 47 goals (85-38)
defeated Fiji by 69 goals (101-32)
Group F: 2nd (4-1, +179 goal difference)
defeated Scotland by 40 goals (77-37)
defeated Malawi by 24 goals (70-46)
lost to England by 1 goal (56-55)
defeated Jamaica by 3 goals (57-54)
Gold Medal Match:
defeated England by 16 goals (61-45)
In a fairly obvious choice, Australia’s Gold Medal winning performance against England provided many highlights for the green and gold faithful. After a tight first term, Australia shot clear through the middle two quarters to lead by 10 goals at the final break. It was always going to be tricky from there, and the Diamonds broke away with a dominant last term as well to win by 16 goals, 61-45.
The biggest positive coming out of the match was the combination of Sophie Garbin (27 goals from 33 attempts) and Kiera Austin (15 from 17) who replaced starting shooters Cara Koenen (10 from 10) and Steph Wood (nine from 10) in the second term. Liz Watson had an impressive 20 goal assists in the win, while Courtney Bruce maintained her form across the tournament with six gains, four deflections, two intercepts and one rebound.
Bruce won the best defender of the tournament for her work across the board, nullifying the opposition’s best shooters. Having to come up against the likes of Cardwell and Jhaniele Fowler, Bruce pulled down eight defensive rebounds. She also had a team-high 36 deflections and 23 intercepts, which is ultra-impressive for someone who spent so much time in goal keeper.
Along with Bruce, Sarah Klau worked well in defence, picking up nine defensive rebounds, 25 deflections and seven intercepts. When getting her chance, Jamie-Lee Price added some spark to the lineup, while Watson was her reliable self in wing attack. Garbin shot a team-high 215 goals often coming on as second goal shooter, while Koenen had 203 or the tournament. In her last international tournament, Wood shot 106 and fed her partner regularly from goal attack.
Australia came away from the 2023 Netball World Cup with another title in hand and more silverware to add to the trophy cabinet. The Diamonds were challenged at times, but dug deep and found a way to win, to claim their 12th overall title off the back of some terrific performances and great depth on show.