Aussies stunned by Jamaica in ‘extraordinary’ Comm Games netball upset

Aussies stunned by Jamaica in ‘extraordinary’ Comm Games netball upset

Jamaica has defeated Australia for the first time in Commonwealth Games netball history, springing a shock 57-55 upset to shake up the race for gold.

Both nations went into the hotly anticipated clash undefeated and faced their first proper test to decide the winner of Group A.

There was nothing in it in the first half as the Diamonds and the Sunshine Girls went goal for goal, and Australia took a 30-29 lead into halftime.

Australia dominated the third quarter and took a six-point into three quarter time, largely thanks to their control of the midcourt and Gretel Bueta and Steph Wood firing on all cylinders in the shooting circle.

But just as the Aussies looked home and hosed, Jamaica somehow found another gear in the final term and chewed up the deficit in just a handful of minutes to hit the lead.

Bueta was silenced in the last quarter — she finished with 36 goals from 39 attempts, while Wood had 19 goals at 86 per cent shooting.

“How quickly has this game been turned on its head,” legendary Diamonds shooter Cath Cox said in commentary on Channel 7.

“It looked like Australia had taken control and it was all over.”

Jhaniele Fowler was superb at goal shooter for Jamaica in a physical duel with her West Coast Fever teammate Courtney Bruce.

Adelaide Thunderbirds duo Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson were outstanding in defence and secured ball at will for Jamaica with countless deflections.

“Extraordinary scenes, the Diamonds defeated for the first time this tournament,” Sue Gaudion said.

Cox said Jamaica’s performance “screamed we can medal at these Games”, adding Australia appeared to “shut up shop” in the last quarter.

“Australia couldn’t win the ball back — it was some brilliant defensive work from Jamaica. They really just lifted another level in the fourth quarter,” she said.

The two-point victory was Jamaica’s first over Australia in Commonwealth Games history and will seriously shake up the race for the medals.

It’s far from disaster for Australia, but they will now likely come up against England in the semi-finals on a more difficult path to the gold medal match.

Australia’s last Commonwealth Games netball gold medal came in Glasgow in 2014. The Diamonds claimed silver on the Gold Coast in 2018 after losing a thrilling final to England.

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