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Strain on Diamonds for World Cup as New Zealand discovers a gem in Grace Nweke | internet ball

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An more and more confident Australia took out the Quad Sequence in Cape City with victory over New Zealand within the ultimate. However the match did greater than re-confirm the Diamonds’ world No 1 standing. This is what we realized with the 2023 World Cup in South Africa looming.

It is Grace Nweke’s world and we’re dwelling in it

Grace Nweke’s future biography will element how she “arrived” on the 2023 Quad Sequence.

The 20-year-old has been within the Silver Ferns set-up since 2021 and performed a crucial position of their Commonwealth bronze final yr, but it surely was in Cape City this week the place she made the objective shooter bib her personal. And it seems to be hers from her for so long as she desires it.

Dame Noeline Taurua performed the 193cm shooter in each minute of the four-game sequence and he or she shot a mammoth 166 from 180 at 92%, together with 38/44 within the gold medal match.

Nweke was MVP within the 59-57 loss to Australia within the preliminary rounds and was named participant and shooter of the match.

With a Jhaniele Fowler-esque physique and temperament, Nweke is dominant in a means that is exhausting to fight. Robust, correct in shut and never afraid of the robust stuff, she’s a shooter a coach would design.

Former Kiwi captain Anna Stanley says Nweke might grow to be a legend, rivaling South African-born shooter Irene van Dyk, who performed 72 Exams for the Proteas earlier than transferring to New Zealand and taking part in 145 extra in black, making her some of the capped worldwide gamers ever.

An outdated stress returns for Diamonds

As reigning Commonwealth Video games, Constellation Cup and England sequence champions, Australia merely needed to win the Quad Sequence. The prize for the Diamonds? The expectation and stress of but extra success – extra particularly, successful the World Cup in Cape City later this yr.

In the event that they did not have already got it, Stacey Marinkovich’s workforce now carries the mantle of outright World Cup favouritism, given their dominance and rising consistency.

The Diamonds, taking part in with out arguably the very best participant on this planet Gretel Bueta and injured defender Jo Weston, received from in entrance and got here from behind, utilizing quick ball-speed in assault, collective drive in protection and endurance and grind when required. When challenged they responded.

Marinkovich, who inherited a workforce in 2020 with just about no trophies within the cupboard, needed to lift the bar within the sequence, acknowledging that 2022 type wouldn’t make the reduce in 2023. And he or she was proper, with New Zealand and South Africa stepping it up, whereas England has continued to slide.

The performances of Liz Watson, Steph Wooden, Cara Koenen, Courtney Bruce, Sarah Klau and Paige Hadley – who certainly booked their locations on the airplane again to Cape City in July – have been stand-outs. Now the coach simply has to work out the opposite six names.

One-win Roses have thorny points to deal with

A slow-motion automobile crash.

That was England’s Quad, as quiet pre-tournament worries about coach Jess Thirlby’s method exploded right into a public disaster for England Netball lower than 190 days out from the World Cup … regardless of the aspect successful bronze.

The Roses misplaced to Australia and New Zealand, by six and 10, and solely managed a 46-all draw towards South Africa within the preliminaries earlier than this morning’s comfort ultimate, which noticed them maintain off a courageous Proteas outfit 49-42 in Jade Clarke’s 2 hundredth Take a look at.

Followers are calling for Thirlby to be sacked and the governing physique to be extra clear concerning the workforce’s method after the gamers seemingly misplaced religion in Thirlby in Cape City, some unable to even take a look at her within the eye post-match.

There’s questions on why she took shooter Jo Harten, who has been carrying an damage since mid-2022, solely to ship her house simply after it started and her choice technique and in-game decision-making corresponding to taking defender Funmi Fadoju off within the recreation towards Australia when she was dominating. And lots of extra moreover.

Thirlby, already below stress given England did not medal on the Commonwealth Video games final yr, has struggled to mix the expertise at her disposal with thrilling rising expertise and to get her gamers to execute her recreation plan for 60 minutes.

And now England Netball has a crash scene to scrub up.

‘Plum’ and Pretorius have put Proteas again on monitor

Two ladies who’ve come to outline fashionable South African netball – teaching icon Norma Plummer and objective defender Karla Pretorius – returned for the Quad. And what a homecoming it was.

The prodigal Proteas helped put the world #5 aspect again on monitor earlier than the World Cup, after a interval of underachievement which included a shock loss to Uganda finally yr’s Commonwealth Video games. The aspect put in a stable displaying throughout the match, regardless of dropping the bronze medal play-off to England.

Pretorius, again after a yr out to have a child, and 78-year-old “Plum”, who late final yr changed Dorette Badenhorst, the coach who succeeded her after the 2019 World Cup, have injected much-needed professionalism and palpable confidence .

Regardless of dropping to New Zealand and Australia, a 46-all draw and a seven-goal loss to England within the medal play-off is an efficient return and can instill hope forward of the Cup.

As is her means, Plummer saved her expectations excessive and her teaching model pragmatic, asking dwell on-air earlier this week if anybody might discover her “a 6′ 8” defender” to fight Grace Nweke, “that’d be nice”.

Pretorius delivered the Quad’s single-best second of particular person brilliance, when she someway received possession whereas 2-on-1 within the Roses’ objective circle within the dying moments of their pool match, after her keeper Phumza Maweni was despatched off.

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