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Netball gold goes right to the wire

04 August 2002

Australia defended their Commonwealth crown in extraordinary extra-time, sudden-death circumstances against New Zealand 57-55.

Sharelle McMahon

Sharelle McMahon celebrates her sudden death golden goal

Nothing separated the teams with the scores see-sawing from opening whistle to 76 fever-pitch minutes later when Australian goal attack Sharelle McMahon sunk the sudden-death winner.

Scores had been locked after 60 minutes of regular time and the 14 minutes of extra time.

The game rolled into sudden death where the winner is the first team to go two goals up. Ironically it was McMahon who sunk the winner – as when Australia won the 1999 World Championships by one goal against New Zealand on the buzzer.

All shooters McMahon and Catherine Cox of Australia and New Zealand stars Irene Van Dyk and Donna Loffhagen had nerves of steel under immense pressure.

New Zealand had led by one goal in the last minute of regular time but a high pass over the head of Donna Loffhagen gave Australia possession. The world champions swiftly transferred the ball down court to Cox who converted for 46-46.

The two seven minute halves of extra-time went goal for goal with New Zealand leading by two with two minutes remaining. But Australia fought back to level the scores as the extra-time elapsed and it then became a sudden death situation.

No official full-time was called and despite initial confusion (Cox had put Australia one goal up one second after extra-time elapsed) players continued.

With Australia leading 56-55, McMahon then converted the winner.

Australian centre Nicole Richardson, wing defender Peta Squire, McMahon and Cox were outstanding as was New Zealand’s wing defender Lesley Nichol, goal shooter Iren Van Dyk and goal defence Sheryl Clark.

Info News Service/nt

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