11 time champions Australia hold off in-form Jamaica to reach another Netball World Cup final

Australia celebrate winning their semi- final against Jamaica at the Netball World Cup. Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023

Australia celebrate winning their semi- final against Jamaica at the Netball World Cup. Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023

Published Aug 5, 2023


The finalist for the 2023 Netball have been decided.

Australia joined England in the battle for first place of the competition with a hard fought win, after managing to fend off a strong Jamaica side 57-54.

The Aussie Diamonds are yet to lose to the Sunshine Girls at this stage of the World Cup having been on the winning side in their last three semi-final encounters, the last meeting was in 2015.

Had they succeeded in their quest on Saturday, the Jamaicans would have denied the powerhouse Australian side a place in the final of a Netball World Cup for the first time ever.

As predicted, and following the pattern of the England v New Zealand semifinal earlier in the day, the opening quarter was a tight one, the teams matching each other goal for goal as they sussed each other out to reach the first break level on 14-14.

Playing in her 100th match for Jamaica, Jhaniele Fowler was, as always, a tower of strength and calm in the circle with just one miss in the entire match. But it was goalkeeper Shamera Sterling’s extraordinary effort to win the ball off Cara Koenen at the other end that really lifted her side at a crucial moment when they were just starting to slip behind.

The island nation gained momentum and were able to score three goals on the trot to make up their deficit and level matters once again as the sides headed into halftime.

The confident-looking Diamonds upped the intensity at the start of the third quarter. They forced the Jamaicans into several errors, giving themselves the freedom to open up a five-goal lead. Several Jamaican changes included Adean Thomas coming in at centre, injecting some energy into the side.

Clearly up for the fight, the Jamaicans continued to put their bodies on the line as they battled their way back once again to equalise at 40-40. The Diamonds managed to steady themselves to turn the ball over in the final minute and make sure they reached the final break with their noses just in front, having won the quarter by two goals.

That lead didn’t last long, however, the Jamaicans immediately closing the gap and then edging ahead at the start of the final 15 minutes. Returning to their shorter, sharper game and showing more patience on the ball, the Sunshine Girls edged in front. But with Courtney Bruce in particular upping the defensive pressure, that safe, short game didn’t last.

One too many dangerous high passes into the circle saw Bruce affecting a crucial turnover with just over five minutes to play. Determined to avoid the defending champion New Zealand side’s fate, that was just the gap they needed to pull away, apply more pressure, and eventually secure a hard-fought victory.

— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) August 5, 2023

While Australia had lost to England in their final group game during the week, this was Jamaica’s first defeat of the tournament, but it was the crunch one that brought their gold-medal quest to an end. The Sunshine Girls will now have to pick themselves up for a bronze medal playoff against New Zealand on Sunday.

Asked about bouncing back on Saturday after their loss to England, Australian coach Stacey Marinkovich said: “You don’t need to do much to motivate this group. I think they’re just absolutely professional in what they do. They knew that we didn’t play the way we would have liked against England. We needed to address that and we needed to find that next level.

“It’s been building – we’ve had bits and pieces of it through the tournament but to play Jamaica you need it for 60 minutes so I guess it was more around the commitment… it was just regrouping and getting focused on what we actually look like when we’re playing well.”

“We were playing against a team that is really good… their defence was that good and we have to give credit to the opposition, they played really well and they forced us to do things we never wanted to do and we never got the result we wanted. We were in the game for a very long time and we have to be proud of the ladies and how they performed,”said Jamaica’s assistant coach Keyan Murdock.

The final takes place at 6pm tomorrow. But first all local eyes will be on the Proteas who will be playing for fifth place when they take on African rivals Uganda at 11am.