Aussies to face NZ in netball battle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussies to face NZ in netball battle

By Katherine Field 17/11/2007 06:16:30 AM Comments (0)

Australia will go down a familiar path today when they battle New Zealand in the netball world championship final for the eighth time in history.

Tournament favourites Australia and defending champions New Zealand are both confident of getting the win with both overcoming strong opposition yesterday to make it through to the final.

Australia beat England 51-33 after holding off England's strong defence, while New Zealand managed a 59-49 win over Jamaica, who led for most of the game.

Australia have history on their side heading into tonight's game, having won the last six of eight matches, and are the world's most successful netball side ever with eight titles since the tournament's inception in 1963.

New Zealand, meanwhile, look fit, confident and determined, and have the weight of the nation on them, after the country's disastrous results at the Rugby World Cup, Cricket World cup and in rugby league.

England - determined to make their first title final - scared the Australians with their tough defence.

Captain and goal keeper Liz Ellis was relieved with yesterday's win and said she was expecting an even tougher game today.

"It's really going to be consistent netball, to win a world championship final you have to be consistent regardless," she said.

Australia's shooting accuracy over the whole match was just 69 per cent compared with England's 80 per cent, but that didn't phase coach Norma Plummer in the slightest ahead of the decider.

"Who gives a damn because we've just won," she said.

Plummer also said she had a good idea about how the Silver Ferns worked and was confident of a win.

"Don't underestimate an Aussie," she said. "We've worked really hard for this.

"We've got more information on the Ferns than we have on any other team here."

New Zealand have never won a title final on home soil, but are equally as positive about the match.

Jamaica had led for the most of the match, with New Zealand only managing to get ahead with 10 minutes to go, but towering shooting star Irene van Dyk said it showed her side's resilience.

"We showed that we can fight back and that we do not give up very easily," said van Dyk.

"We will take a lot of confidence out of that."

"Australia is playing incredible netball at the moment. It is going to be a battle and I just can't wait."

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