The Wright Insight: Day 10

1 month ago

The final entry of 'The Wright Insight' wraps up the remaining two matches of the 2019 Netball World Cup. The Aussies suffer a heartbreaking one point loss to New Zealand in the Gold Medal Match whilst the English Roses come out on top against South Africa in the bronze.

Tash Lewis and Rob Wright

Collingwood Magpies netball’s official 2019 Netball World Cup (NWC) correspondent, A.K.A the Magpies’ head coach, Rob Wright, will keep us up to date with all the very latest coming out of Liverpool.

Day 10 – Grand Final and Bronze medal match

AUS v NZ

Predicted Australia to defeat New Zealand, margin of 5-6.

RESULT: Australia (51) v New Zealand (52)

  • Disaster for Australia – not what the majority was expecting
  • Australia’s starting seven reverted back to the line-up that we were all expecting them to run yesterday against South Africa.
  • The line was what everyone expected to see start of the game.
  • Australia got off to a good start, 8-4 up.
  • Both teams looked quite nervous, as you’d expect, trying to both find their way and break through early on.
  • During the first quarter there were a few errors from both teams. After that I thought both teams began to settle well.
  • Intense second quarter – it was back and forth, goal for goal at each centre pass. Neither had a chance in the first 11 minutes to get a break – really shows the class of both teams to play under that immense amount of pressure. Massive wrap for both sides.
  • As I touched on yesterday – the two NZ shooters were super impressive – the challenge was whether they could back it up today. Ameliaranne Ekenasio again had a shooting percentage over 90 per cent, shooting 24 out of 26. She held her nerve and put the ball away when they really needed it. She nailed it – I’ve never seen her play a tournament, or even a final series like it – she was very impressive.
  • I believe Ekenasio was the MVP for the finals.
  • NZ had champions all over the court today. Laura Langman was an absolute machine – she kept running and reoffering, controlling the game and tempo. She was super clever and patient with the ball.
  • Two things that stood out with the game – NZ were super patient and looked calm and composed in attack. It was the return to an absolute classic NZ style of play.
  • The way NZ were able to hold possession and keep working the ball was world class.
  • Australia’s point of view – it showed that the margin between absolute ecstasy and utter devastation was so small. Today was one of those days. Australia was two goals away from World Champions.
  • In the final quarter Australia were at least six down and got it back to four by the halfway mark before getting back to one behind. Australia put up a strong fight with both teams at battle until the final minute. A battle where NZ just got over the line – deservedly so, NZ were the more consistent team overall today.
  • I spoke earlier about Australia needing to address their penalty count – this was a major factor that let Australia down today. Australia had 82 penalties compared to NZ at 49. This was one of, if not the highest penalty count Australia had for the tournament.
  • Repeated infringements from Australian defence allowed New Zealand’s score to continue growing. Australia built some really good pressure but unfortunately a penalty allowed this to be released.
  • A sell-out crowd of 10,000 today. As expected the crowd was pro-Kiwi with England supporters in favour of the underdog.

ENG v SA

Predicted England to defeat South Africa, margin of 7-10.

RESULT: England (58) v South Africa (42)

  • To start – where was that England yesterday?
  • England would have been thrilled today to get the bronze however they played a different game yesterday against NZ to the competitive game they played all tournament. England were so close to being world champions.
  • England looked sharp and impressive across the court. We saw straight away they were going to be a tough competition. Massive credit to them – they would have been shattered after yesterday’s result and we weren’t sure what they were going to produce today.
  • England produced today what they needed to produce yesterday, but that’s the beauty of sport.
  • Full credit to NZ yesterday – they put England under so much pressure and England weren’t able to perform the way they liked when it mattered.
  • Today England shot well, defended well. I’m sure they’ll be thinking yesterday was a nightmare for them as today they really showed us all how well they can play.
  • South Africa didn’t back it up as well today as they did yesterday. They didn’t play anywhere near that level of intensity or form. They came up against England, a team that was fuming from yesterday’s result, and South Africa paid the price for that.
  • Massive congratulations to both coaches. Norma Plummer has done wonders for the South African side. Two or three years ago, South Africa were 25 goals behind the top three teams. In a short space of time they came within two or three goals off the gold. South Africa were so close and could almost taste the Grand Final – very impressive.
  • Tracey Anne Neville (England Head Coach) is a fierce competitor – she has been building on this cycle of a golden generation of players but unfortunately let this tournament slip. She out netball firmly on the map in this country (England). It will be interesting to see what transpires for both countries.

Overall it was a good tournament – I had a great ten days. In some ways it was disappointing it wasn’t an Australia v England Grand Final as the crowd would’ve been electric. I believe the two best teams in the semis played in the final, but I’m not sure they were necessarily the top two teams in the competition. England was undoubtedly one of the best teams here – who they would’ve knocked out of the final, we’ll never know.

This was the seventh netball World Cup final that was decided by a goal – the type of final you want to watch. Being critical, the one thing that needs to be looked at for future tournaments is the format. If we want netball to be commercially viable and continue to have partners on board we need to make it more appealing. No one wants to see huge blowouts, it’s not interesting. With the close games we’ve seen in the past few days, who wouldn’t want to be involved with that? We need to keep building on this otherwise we’ll fail to see the sport move forward.

I fly home tomorrow to (hopefully) some decent, fresh weather. I’m very keen to get back to the Holden Centre as I’ve been missing my players and team. There’s a lot I’ve learnt as a spectator at this tournament and I’m looking forward to reporting back to the club.

This is the Collingwood Magpies Netball World Cup correspondent officially signing off following my eighth World Cup. Until next time, ta-ta.

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