Having a look at the stats, Liz Watson is doing a power of work at WA. With 13 centre pass receives, 19 feeds and 16 goal assists, she is the dominant force in that attack end. By contrast Paige Hadley has only seven goal assists and eight feeds.
The defence line have been quiet stats-wise, with Jo Weston with just one intercept and one gain and Sarah Klau yet to pull in any intercepts or gains. The defence has been a lot more focussed on strong hands over down the court and grinding down their opponents, however I’m sure Lisa Alexander will be hoping for more turnover ball from her defenders in the second half.
Half-time Australia 31-23 SA
This is the Diamonds’ game to lose now. They are much more settled, finding space easily in the circle. While they still aren’t confident to take long shots, it’s not affecting them at the moment, as the shooter to shooter play is sharp enough to get the ball through. However if they find themselves up against the Roses tomorrow, they may need to be able to mix it up in the circle and have a Plan B.
Q2 13 mins: Australia 28-21 SA There is a hesitancy to take longer range shots from both Diamonds shooters at the moment. It puts a lot of pressure on the feeders to get the ball close to the post.
Q2 10 mins: Australia 26-19 SA Potgieter is being pushed hard by her own players who aren’t giving her any easy feeds. To her credit, she is pulling them in, but will make it easier for herself if she stays on her hold a millisecond longer.
Q2 8 mins: Australia 23-17 SA The Diamonds are improving as this game goes on. The attack is looking much more fluent and their full court defence is looking tougher and more confident. They are still not playing the level they would be aiming for, but will be happy with the improvement.
Q2 6 mins: Australia 20-15 SA Thwaites’ baulks don’t seem to be drawing the same umpire attention – no held balls called on her as yet. Let’s keep an eye on it when the Diamonds’ are back down the other end of the court.
Q2 4 mins: Australia 17-14 SA The Proteas appear to struggle with a static start – setting up after a penalty rather than coming up court with speed. We might see the Diamonds try to exploit that by forcing more penalties and making the Proteas reset more often.
Q2 2 mins: Australia 17-12 SA Short three seconds from the umpires in this game – plenty of held balls being called on the Proteas’ shooters. And the first lift of the game with Maweni getting Pretorius up over Tippett’s shot, but to no avail.
Q2 1 min: Australia 15-10 SA No changes to either side as predicted. Thwaites still not looking confident on the shot, she passes off to Tippett instead of taking the first shot.
Quarter time: Australia 14-10 SA
While it’s a lead for the Diamonds, it doesn’t look like a convincing start from the reigning world champions. Thwaites does tend to grow into a game though, as we have seen with the Melbourne Vixens, so it will be interesting to see if Alexander is prepared to let this line up work their way into the game. I wouldn’t expect changes from either team at this stage.
Q1 14 mins: Australia 12-10 SA Lots of end to end play at the moment – neither team are completely confident in getting the ball into their attacking end and defensive pressure is immense.
Q1 12 mins: Australia 10-8 SA The Diamonds are having no trouble getting turnover ball but they will need to step up their conversion rate from turnovers. Cath Cox in commentary wants Thwaites to turn and shoot more often rather than passing out.
Q1 10 mins: Australia 7-7 SA Miscommunication has been the theme of the quarter for the Diamonds. Has this line had enough time to gel to get a semi-final win?
Q1 9 mins: Australia 6-6 SA Very scrappy play from the Diamonds somehow ends up with the ball in Thwaites’ hands under the post to equalise. They look to go one up, but access to the circle is hard to find at the moment.
Q1 7 mins: Australia 5-6 SA More fluidity in ball movement for the Proteas now, while the Diamonds still struggle to penetrate the defence.
Q1 6 mins: Australia 4-5 SA The Proteas defence unit is looking in much sharper form than they did against the Roses. However they still don’t look fluent in attack – it’s a very stop/start progression down court.
Q1 3 mins: Australia 1-2 SA A nervous start from both teams, not much smooth movement down court. It’s a very defensive game so far.
1 min: Australia 0-1 SA An early win for the Proteas with Thwaites unable to handle a high ball on its first trip down their attacking end. But they can’t capitalise.
The teams are running out on court now, the Diamonds looking relaxed and confident. Erin has noted that now the game is about to begin, the crowd is now getting behind the Proteas! Interesting times, let’s go!
Big incentive for the Proteas with 1,000,000 ZAR on offer for each player if they come away with the gold medal. So they will want to give themselves every chance to do that by winning tonight and reaching their first world cup final since 1995.
Hearing from Norma Plummer now.
“They don’t look as nervous as I thought they might. I think they’ll just come out and give it a really good go.”
She also reassures us that Bongiwe Msomi is 100% fit after her ankle injury against the Roses, which is great to hear.
I’m pretty happy with this broadcast line up, which includes my two favourite netballers of all time – Nat Medhurst and Sharelle McMahon. They will provide some excellent insights.
Medhurst feels that South Africa may take offence at Alexander completely changing up her line up from what she clearly considered her top 7 in the Ferns game, so it will be interested to see if the Proteas come out fired up.
Alvin and the Chipmunks is finally over so it appears we will get some TV coverage started soon. I’m very glad this important eight year old movie got to run its course before the small matter of a World Cup semi final gets to be covered.
Some thoughts from Erin inside the stadium:
“Awesome to see so many Diamonds fans in the house. I swear I see a few red shirts cheering for Diamonds as they come out too. I reckon the Poms want an Eng v Aus final.”
Interesting as they seemed to be on the Diamonds’ side against the Ferns too. If the Diamonds do progress tonight I hope they’ve enjoyed this crowd support while it lasted though, because they will turn on them big time tomorrow!
Some interesting thoughts on social media regarding Lisa Alexander’s starting line. Quite a few people thinking it’s giving the benchies a run because they expect to win and win easily. Good summary of what it could be from former Roses player Pamela Cookey.
And of course after this game we have the other semi final – between England and New Zealand. England cruised to victory against SA and will be going in pretty confidently. Gone are the days when the Ferns could easily account for the Roses. Although the English team don’t play against many of the Ferns these day, a fair few of this crop of Roses played in the ANZ Championship days and the players will all be pretty familiar with each other.
We’re still about 30 mins away from the first centre pass, so now is a good time to catch up on the news from the past few days. Emma John was all over the England v South Africa game a couple of days ago, so check it out to get up to speed if you couldn’t quite wake up at 5am to watch it.
Starting line up – South Africa
No surprises here, this has looked like their strongest line up, though I’ll be looking for for a GA change if Holtzhausen struggles again.
GS Lenize Potgieter
GA Maryka Holtzhausen
WA Bongiwe Msomi
C Erin Burger
WD Shadine van der Merwe
GD Karla Pretorius
GK Phumza Maweni
Starting line up – Australia
This is a very different line up that started against NZ. I’m not sure if Lisa Alexander is hoping for something different or is perhaps taking this match up a little lightly?
GS Caitlin Thwaites
GA Gretel Tippett
WA Liz Watson
C Paige Hadley
WD Jamie-Lee Price
GD Jo Weston
GK Sarah Klau
The Diamonds would appear to be in the box seat for this one – despite a scrappy second half against New Zealand where they only came away with the win by one goal – they have looked the more in form of the two teams.
South Africa had a strong start to the World Cup but perhaps played their final against Jamaica, when they beat the world number two to qualify for the semi finals. They looked less than convincing against England. Maryka Holtzhausen appeared out of her depth in goal attack, while the usually unstoppable defence combination could not contain who our intrepid reporter in Liverpool Erin Delahunty has dubbed ‘H2’ – Jo Harten and Helen Housby. However a Norma Plummer-coached team is not to be underestimated and ‘The Plum’ will be very keen to take down the Diamonds, so she’ll have a few tricks up her sleeve.
So much excitement, so little time! So let’s get into it.