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Aussie netballers beat South Africans

29 July 2002

Australia seal Pool B win with victory over gutsy South Africans.

Aus v RSA

Catherine Cox overcomes the challenge of Tanya Pelcher in Australia's 74-38 victory

Undefeated Australia turned out a superb tactical performance to thwart the world number five South Africa's game plan. They were rewarded with a comfortable 74-38 win.

Australia put together four consistent quarters with coach Jill McIntosh rotating almost the full squad.

The Australian defence relished the challenge against towering South African goal shooter Sindisiwe Gumede who was averaging 47 goals in the three games leading up to the clash on Monday against the World Champions.

South Africa’s game has been structured around the high lob pass into Gumede who protects the space under the goal post. Tenacious Australian goal keeper Liz Ellis kept a close check on Gumede and effected numerous intercepts.

Ellis spoke afterwards about her clash with the tallest woman in the competition: “It was pretty tough, when the ball gets put to her properly, there’s nothing you can do about it.”

“We knew that and our whole strategy going into the game was to have the centre court players out in front with their hands up and hopefully force the bad pass.”

Ellis was clearly expected a tough, physical contest: “When you get 14 fit women wanting the one thing, there’s always going to be body clashes. It was no more physical than usual.”

The pressure on the incoming feed to Gumede by Australian goal defence Alison Broadbent (AUS), wing defender Peta Squire and centre Rebecca Sanders cut off the lifeline to the star 195cm shooter.

South Africa dropped off the pace midway through the first quarter and Australia led at every change 19-9, 36-14 and 60-25 at three quarter-time.

South African centre, Bronwyn Bock-Jonathan commented: “I thought the South African team started very well. We took a dip in the second quarter but we came back in the third.

“If we’d have kept our consistency like we did in the first quarter I don’t think the gap would have been that big.”

26-year-old Australian goal-circle player Catherine Cox, who first played goal shooter and then goal attack top-scored with 39/50 while Gumede netted 27/29.

Info News Service/nt/jp

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