The Diamonds have ended the international netball calendar year on a high note, taking game three of the England Series and making it a clean sweep over the England Roses.
They took an early lead at quarter time before the Roses showed their resilience and challenged back. The Diamonds were able to hang on, making it five wins against England with a 57-53 victory.
For Australia, several players stepped up in key moments when the game got close, with Paige Hadley finishing the game as the Player of the Match.
For the Roses, Funmi Fadoju was instrumental once again in the defensive end, whilst Sophie Drakeford-Lewis had an impact in the match in the attack.
Diamonds punish Roses’ turnovers and conversion
In the first half, the Diamonds punished the Roses, applying the pressure from the midcourt to the shooting circle and not allowing any easy passage of play to goal.
The Diamonds punished the Roses with quick passages of play and conversion, whilst the Roses couldn’t find reward for effort. Australia was on song across both ends of the court, able to find easy vision and able to find transition down the court. They dominated time in possession with 54 per cent.
To the Roses credit in their fight back, they stepped up their intensity in the defensive end and won ball back, but made bad decisions and turned over the ball too many times.
They were unable to find consistency in this match and the series, which is something they will look to work on going into the Quad Series and World Cup in 2023.
Selection headaches: Different Diamonds stepped up at different moments
The Diamonds shooting was on song for majority of the match. Donnell Wallam was rock solid, playing her role with her strong holds, shooting at a high shooting volume and showing why she should be in the World Cup squad next year throughout this series.
Being able to stay composed is something she can build on at the international level in years to come, but the way she found space and pulled strong feeds was exceptional in this series.
Kiera Austin played a great support role in the first half, and Sophie Dwyer came on in the third quarter and made an impact, getting intercepts and shooting accurately under the post.
Whilst the Roses stepped up defensively, the injection of Sophie Garbin at goal shooter halfway through the third provided plenty of cuts and drives to pull in feeds.
In the defensive end, Maddy Turner, Courtney Bruce and Jo Weston caused havoc, winning plenty of ball back once more and getting key intercepts at important moments.
With the midcourt dominant throughout this match, the Diamonds have plenty of ‘good’ headaches and difficult options to pick to take to next year’s World Cup. It is a testament to the number of players that have stepped up, not only in game three, but throughout the series.
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Diamonds dominate pickups
The Diamonds were all over picking up loose ball. When the pressure lifted throughout the match, including the first half, the Diamonds were all over cleaning up the Roses turnovers.
Kate Moloney, Paige Hadley, Amy Parmenter backed each other up and went for the one percenters, complimenting their hard work in the midcourt. This will be a key stat the Diamonds coaching staff will be proud of.
Roses’ defence end winning ball back
Whilst it was a slow start in the match for the England Roses, the second half is something they will be pleased with, winning the third quarter 14-11 and the last quarter by one, 15-14.
When England lifted its intensity, Funmi Fadoju was instrumental, using her athleticism and reading the ball well as she has all series. She wasn’t afraid to fly for intercepts, finishing with two rebounds, four intercepts and 10 gains. There’s no doubt she has a bright future ahead in goal keeper.
The likes of Francesca Williams and Layla Guscoth were able to pick up loose balls and add pressure back on the Diamonds by winning ball back. While the Roses would be disappointed not winning the series, they can look to build from that and continue to improve.
Whilst they were able to come close in regard to the intercepts category – 8-7 – the penalty count will be something the Roses will need to clean up, 59-46.
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