Diamonds set up Roses clash 20-goal win over Proteas
AUSTRALIA has set up a Quad Series final with England after taking out South Africa in the second round robin match at the Copper Box Arena. The Diamond won each of the four quarters, piling on 60 goals to 40, with a particularly dominant second half, where they added 33 goals to 17. In the end, Australia got up 60-40 in a strong effort.
Much like their effort against England in the first game, the Proteas were competitive early. They kept the same starting seven as the first match, with captain Bongi Msomi heading into centre, switching with Izette Griesel. The Diamonds rested Liz Watson and Jo Weston and brought Maddy Turner on as starting goal defence, and Kate Moloney in at centre with Paige Hadley shuffled to wing attack. Excitingly, Sunday Aryang was named in the squad for a potential debut.
After Ine-Mari Venter scored the first goal of the match, Australian piled on the next three, as Gretel Bueta was looking dangerous. Though Venter was able to get a couple more and keep Australia’s defence on its toes, another couple of goals to the green and gold had them out to a 7-3 lead. In one of hte biggest momentum changing moments for the Proteas, a couplE of turnovers saw them flash from 3-7 down to 8-7 up, as Venter scored four consecutive goals and Lefébre Rademan contributed her first at the nine-minute mark. Australia managed to get back on top and maintain a small buffer of two goals, with a late Bueta goal – her ninth of the quarter – putting them 14-12 up at the first break.
Bueta finished the term with nine goals from 10 chances, as Wood had five from six, and seven goal assists. Hadley was working hard with four goal assists from nine feeds, whilst all of the defensive trio – Turner, Courtney Bruce and Ash Brazill each had a gain to their names. Venter was dangerous in the opening ter with 11 goals from 13 chances, as Rademan and Griesel set up four goal assists. Phumza Maweni was incredible in the defensive goal circle, familiar against both Bueta and ex-teammate Wood, picking up two gains, and intercept and a rebound in the opening term.
Tshina Mdau replaced Zanele Vimbela in the defensive third for the Proteas, with Monique Reyneke shuffling from wing defence to goal defence. The Diamonds did not make a change until later in the term, when Aryang made her debut official, replacing Turner in the defensive goal circle. It was another quarter of ebbs and flows, with Australia looking to run away with it early, piling on the first three goals of the term to lead by five, 17-12. South Africa managed to stem the bleeding, and then later on in the quarter, Venter scored three consecutive goals to draw within a single goal with three minutes on the clock. Just as it looked like the Proteas might hit the front, she missed back-to-back shots – her first of the term – and Bueta punished the South Africans, to head into half-time with a 27-23 lead.
Venter had done all the heavy lifting with 10 goals from 12 attempts, with Rademan making her solitary shot,. The defensive setup of the South Africans was holding up well against the Diamonds attack, with Maweni, Reyneke, Mdau and Msomi all in sync. Msomi and Griesel had fed through five goal assists, but Griesel’s high turnover rate was coming back again, producing five of her side’s eight turnovers for the quarter. Bueta scored eight of nine for the Diamonds, while Wood nailed all five of her attempts. Hadley had five goal assists from nine feeds with no turnovers, whilst Aryang immediately had an impact with two gains and an assist, while Brazill continued her outstanding form from game one.
After a tight first half, Australia broke away in the third, piling on 18 goals to nine to all but secure the win. Wood was rested, whilst Sophie Garbin came on at goal shooter, and Bueta was moved to goal attack. The South Africans made two changes as well, with Khanyisa Chawane coming on at wing defence from Mdau, whilst Vimbela returned to the court at goal defence for Reyneke. Vimbela would only remain on the court for 10 minutes before youngster Nicola Smith would get her chance.
The writing as on the wall early for the Diamonds, with Australia scoring six of the first seven goals, and Garbin producing back-to-back goals at the four-minute mark. She became the predominant shooter from that moment, scoring nine consecutive Australian goals. South Africa fell behind and then a couple of critical misses at times proved costly, with the last three goals going the way of the green and gold, and Australia led 45-32 at the final break. Garbin scored a perfect 10 from 10 in goal shooter, as well as three goal assists from three feeds, whilst Bueta had eight goals from nine attempts. Moloney and Hadley continued to work well in midcourt, whilst Bruce and Brazill were brilliant in defence, and Aryang showcasing her athleticism. Venter only managed the first goals for the term, as Msomi and Griezel were getting beaten more comprehensively by their opponents.
Both teams utilised the interchange bench quit a bit, with Jamie-Lee Price starting the quarter at centre for Moloney – who would later replace Brazill at wing defence – whilst Sarah Klau and Cara Koenen would also receive court time. Chawane and Griezel shuffled around the midcourt for Msomi to get a break and Mdau to return at the start of hterm, before Msomi replaced Griesel midway through the quarter. Jessica du Plessis would also get her opportunity at the nine-minute mark, coming on at goal attack for Rademan.
Garbin continued her form from the third term, shooting eight goals from nine chances, whilst Koenen came on to contribute four from five in what ended up being a 15-8 term. Price picked up a massive eight goal assists from 10 feeds to be a dominant impact player, with Moloney able to step into wing defence without any issues. Venter scored six goals from seven attempts, and even picked up an intercept, whilst Maweni had a gain and intercept in defence, remaining South Africa’s most dangerous player.
CLOSING THOUGHTS …
Australia got the job done by 20 goals, 60-40 with a 33-17 second half. Bueta finished the game with 28 goals from 31 attempts, whilst Garbin (18 from 19) and Wood (10 from 11) all strong. Hadley had a match-high 16 goal assists from 30 feeds, whilst Wood had the second most with 11. In defence, Aryang had a memorable debut with a couple of rebounds and an intercept, whilst Bruce and Brazill worked well together, the latter picking up two rebounds.
For South Africa, Venter piled on 32 goals from 37 assists, whilst Rademan finished with eight from 14, and two rebounds. Griesel had a team-high 15 goal assists, but also seven turnovers, whilst Msomi had 10 assists and an incept. Mdau impressed in her time on court with a couple of intercepts, but it was Maweni with a massive three intercepts and a rebound who stood tall under pressure.
Australia takes on England in the final round robin stage, whilst South Africa faces New Zealand. Funnily enough, the sides will then face off for second consecutive matches, given the Diamonds and Roses have made the final, whilst the Proteas and Silver Ferns will face off for third.
GS: Gretel Bueta
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Paige Hadley
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Ash Brazill
GD: Maddy Turner
GK: Courtney Bruce
GS: Ine-Mari Venter
GA: Lefebre Rademan
WA: Izette Griesel
C: Bongiwe Msomi
WD: Monique Reyneke
GD: Zanele Vimbela
GK: Phumza Maweni