England fall short against Australia in first rematch since the Commonwealth Games
Quad Series champions will be decided on Sunday when Australia face New Zealand and England take on South Africa
By Sacha Shipway
Last Updated: 04/11/19 12:15pm
England lost 52-47 to Australia in their first rematch since the Commonwealth Games final in April.
The Roses suffered against a fierce Diamonds side at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in New South Wales, 157 days after their Commonwealth Games victory.
It was an opportunity for the Diamonds to seek, score and relish redemption following their Commonwealth heartbreak - a much anticipated rivalry which didn't disappoint netball fans.
England entered the match as the most experienced side with a total of 749 caps, eclipsing Australia's 342 but experience didn't reward the Roses as they eventually succumbed to a new-look Diamonds side.
2018 Quad Series
|New Zealand||61-37||South Africa|
|South Africa||v||England||Sky Sports Arena & Mix|
|Australia||v||New Zealand||Sky Sports Arena & Mix|
With consistency being one of the key themes in the Roses campaign, there was one change to the seven that beat New Zealand on Saturday with stalwart shooter Jo Harten ruled out due to a knock to her knee, switching Helen Housby to GS and Nat Haythornthwaite at GA.
Tracey Neville showed she wasn't afraid to delve into the depths of the England bench as she bought on varying combinations across the court in preparation for next year's Netball World Cup in Liverpool.
The same can be said for Australia as head coach Lisa Alexander put out a mixture of experienced and new players following a huge change in their camp after the retirement of some of netball's greats.
How it happened
Q1: England made a fast start as Housby scored the opening goal but immediate pressure from the Diamonds forced them into a clinical approach in both circles.
With veteran defender Geva Mentor excelling in turning over ball, Haythornthwaite and Housby combined to put the Roses 4-1 in front early on.
For most of the opening quarter, the Roses maintained a lead of two goals while the Diamonds felt their way into their new squad, showing glimpses of danger.
The first quarter was all about England - they started impressively, the freshness of a gold medal and the new ranking as second in the world gave them the confidence of a three-goal lead - their best score against Australia in an opening quarter since 2014.
Q2: Deflections and a lack of control saw the second quarter start in frenzied for both sides and with England losing their edge, the Diamonds punished Roses errors to close within one goal, just five minutes in.
With the world No 1s an increasing threat, Neville made changes in the shooting circle by bringing on Kadeen Corbin at GS and pushing Housby out to GA but it took a while for England to adjust.
With Australia finding their feet the hosts leveled with nine minutes to go in the second quarter and pushed home their advantage thanks to a host of unforced errors from England, including on their own centre-pass that enabled the Diamonds to eventually take the lead.
With just seconds to go the Roses had an opportunity to regain the lead and stay on top, but Corbin's missed shot was swallowed up by the Aussie defence as the Diamonds ended with a narrow 25-24 half-time lead.
Q3: The pattern continued throughout the third quarter with the Diamonds taking advantage of mistakes from their visitors.
Housby was terrific defensively, making important tips for England, but as quickly as the Roses won the ball, it was recycled back into the hands of the Diamonds.
Neville rang the changes again moving Guscoth to WD, and bringing captain Ama Agbeze on as GD, while at the attacking end, Haythornthwaite came back on, replacing Chelsea Pitman at WA.
The Roses never settled into their new line-up during the quarter, as more mistakes crept in and having lost the quarter by six goals they faced a seven-goal deficit heading into the final 15 minutes.
Q4: A fierce pep talk from Neville prompted a determined start from England as they came tantalisingly close to clawing their way back into the game.
Jodie Gibson took to the court as WD and the Roses first closed to within four goals halfway through the quarter and then with time ebbing away reduced the arrears to just two goals.
But hope was diminished when Australia bought their lead back up to five with just two minutes to go and as they closed out the game, a misdirected bounce pass from Corbin summed up the Roses display.
The loss marks Australia's biggest victory against England in two years and despite an impressive start, England's lack of control during the middle two quarters cost them the game.
The Roses could still win their first Quad Series, but they will need to beat South Africa on Sunday, hope New Zealand beat Australia and even then hope that goal difference gives them the advantage.