England folds under pressure as Australia continues dominance

THE Australian Diamonds brought the England Roses back down to earth with a dominant 20-goal victory in the Nations Cup final overnight, 69-49.

Australia’s pure grit and determination to get over the line prevailed, looking like a well oiled machine from the get-go.

Once the Diamonds got a sniff at a lead, they never let up and were ahead from the first goal.

The connections all throughout the court for Australia were on point.

The game started goal-for-goal until a replay by Eleanor Cardwell (17 goals) where Sophie Dwyer (22 goals and 10 goal assists) was able to finish it off swiftly down the other end.

In the blink of an eye, the Diamonds were out to a five-goal lead despite the Roses’ best efforts to turn the ball over.

The combination of Sophie Garbin (31 goals) and Dwyer was tough to stop as the circle rotation was near perfect and their timing was impeccable. Dwyer consistently looked to Garbin first to see if she was available, if not she’d sweep the top or to the pocket and shoot the mid range goal.

Courtney Bruce (21 penalties, two intercepts and one rebound) came out all guns blazing, not afraid to fly out of the circle early. Even if she didn’t touch the ball, her sheer presence caused the Roses to send the ball straight over the baseline.

England didn’t win back much ball, but eventually began to score off its own centre passes and ticked the scoreboard over. The Roses ended the first term down 17-13.

Australia played the angles beautifully in the attacking third, finding shooters in prime position while stopping the England defenders for challenging any pass.

Liz Watson was relatively quiet over the last two games by her standards, but her 40 feeds and 28 goal assists for the game proved she can turn it on in an instant. Her vision into the circle is special, able to give the perfect feed into either Garbin or Dwyer, who were clinical under the post.

Luck was on the Diamonds’ side on multiple passages of play whether it was an unforced error by the Roses in an offside or the first player to the loose ball. It was a tough game for the Roses to come back from even with Funmi Fadoju (four deflections and one intercept) giving it her all.

A Fadoju intercept on a centre pass lit a fire in the England side and they were able to score off their gain mainly through Helen Housby (27 goals, 18 centre pass receives and 14 goal assists). She played like her clinical self, doing a mountain of work outside the circle and scoring at the post when needed mostly from distance.

No matter how hard the Roses tried to win back ball, an 18-12 second term made any form of a comeback difficult.

Australia was in total control of the game from defence down to attack. It was difficult for England to win back ball when Garbin and Dwyer weren’t missing, punishing every Roses mistake.

The Diamonds’ smothering defence made it hard for the Roses’ midcourt to find their shooters. Even if they weren’t winning clean ball, it’s the doubt they caused on the pass to go awry.

Australia owned the third quarter, taking it out 18-10 to go into the last break leading by 18 goals.

England began to pass the ball laterally down court which resulted in several turnovers. The Roses’ choice of pass into their shooting circle wasn’t the smartest either, passing the ball along the ground causing the players to be tunnel visioned.

Garbin was phenomenal the whole game, but she was running circles around everyone in the third term. She could come out of the circle, work her way out the front, find her way back in the circle, hold strong in the back space, get the ball and shoot it again and again.

It was a significantly better fourth quarter from England who were able to get the ball into Cardwell and Housby and finish it off at the post.

The change of bringing Hannah Joseph on was exactly what the Roses needed at the first quarter break. She was relentless with the ball on and off circle edge and the fire down the Roses attacking end they needed for most of the game.

England produced promising patches, but something was missing. The midcourt fell short of a spark and that’s difficult to challenge against a now experienced Diamonds outfit on any occasion.

All the changes is what ultimately lost the game for England. They weren’t given a chance to gel and Australia pounced on every opportunity they saw sending the game into the 20-goal margin.

Player of the Match: Sophie Garbin (AUS)

AUSTRALIA               17 | 18 | 18 | 16 (69)

ENGLAND                  13 | 12 | 10 | 14 (49)



GS: Sophie Garbin
GA: Sophie Dwyer
WA: Liz Watson
C: Paige Hadley
WD: Jamie-Lee Price
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Courtney Bruce


GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Helen Housby
WA: Nat Metcalf
C: Imogen Allison
WD: Funmi Fadoju
GD: Fran Williams
GK: Razia Quashie

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