At 4:59pm on Thursday, June 2, Super Netball announced that they had sold the 2022 grand final to Perth with just two rounds of…
With two big games on the agenda for Day 5, we are thankfully past the point of pretending those other 12 nations are here for anything except to play a couple of friendly curtain raisers.
After all the hype around this being a closer World Cup than ever before, with no way of knowing which teams would make the gold medal match, Day 5 reminded us that High School Musical holds the key to all wisdom and we know now it’s best to “stick to the status quo”.
New Zealand and Jamaica were first up, after the strangely large number of curtain raiser games played throughout the day.
The big controversy out of the New Zealand camp came out from their Day 3 game against Australia, when wing defence Kayla Cullen had her feelings hurt by court announcer Catherine Cox’s comment that New Zealand were still trying to sort out the wing defence position.
The comments spurred Cullen on to a brilliant game, which had the Kiwis asking, how could Cullen get her feelings hurt again this game?
Bailey Mes and Grace Rasmussen decided to help out by telling Cullen they went to see Maid in Manhattan without her, after they’d told her they were too busy to go into town with her.
New Zealand started the game as if they were untouchable, throwing the ball wherever they liked and assuming they’d get it back somehow. Clearly they believed that breaking Australia’s winning streak had gifted the unbeatable Elder Wand to them and they wanted to test us just how much power this Deathly Hallow held.
The strategy seemed to work and they headed into the first break up by three, despite the volume of quality ball being delivered to Jamaica’s Queen Romelda Aiken by her three mini subjects.
In the second quarter, Maria Tutaia started missing shots and everyone looked confused. Cullen picked up a few more intercepts after she overheard the Jamaican physio making fun of her accent, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough, as the Jamaicans pushed and pushed to close the gap.
Penalties flowed like beer at an O-Week party and at one stage there was so much whistle it felt like an AFL game. This played into Jamaica’s hands as the New Zealand flow down court was held up and the team from the Caribbean took a three-goal lead into halftime.
The third quarter was fast and frantic, with both teams desperate to establish a lead and take the game. Silver Ferns wing attack Grace Rasmussen was given a talking to for persistent breaking, and with eight minutes to go both teams lost their minds completely and just started hurling the ball wildly around the arena.
Cullen pulled off a big steal after she remembered the time she was uninvited to her best friend’s birthday party in primary school. But a short while later she threw a pass straight to the opposition when she remembered how good she looks in a bikini.
The fourth quarter belonged to New Zealand, as the Jamaicans started to look tired. The Ferns stretched the final score out to a seven-goal win, which was surprising considering Tutaia and Laura Langman spent ten minutes of the quarter passing back and forth to each other around the goal circle.
So onto the main course of the evening, the Australian Diamonds taking on the Mother Country. And if you thought Kayla Cullen’s hurt feelings gave her magical powers, just imagine how what happens when a whole team of 12 loses to New Zealand. Not even the Ministry of Magic could control this bunch of mavericks.
It only took Australia ten seconds to score, which of course led to predictions that they would win the game 360-0. Unfortunately, England put that theory to bed by scoring a few goals of their own.
Australia soon picked up where they left off on Sunday – throwing ridiculous passes and looking confused when they didn’t come off. Fortunately England had some brain explosions of their own, with goal shooter Jo Harten turning the ball over by standing in a different arbitrary spot to the arbitrary spot selected by the umpire for her to stand on. Australia took a three-goal lead into the first break and their supporters took their first breath since Sunday.
Once they figured out that they were the ones wearing green and gold and that those guys in the crowd wearing green and gold aren’t part of the team and can’t receive passes, the Diamonds were set.
Before too long, they built up a tidy lead and England had to pretend they had an injury. Starting to realise they might not win this game and looking to put together a good excuse for the loss, they took their captain Geva Mentor off. Brilliant move by England, always innovating.
Youngster Helen Housby came on at goal attack in the third quarter, with the hope that the glare of the lights off her English Rose complexion might send the Australian defenders blind. But the Diamonds kept powering on, trying to find the slowest and most painful way to crush the English spirit beyond recovery. It’s the kind of ruthlessness this country was built on – beautiful stuff, really.
In the fourth quarter, Australia’s luxurious nine-goal buffer allowed them to rest key strike weapon and self-professed “cupcake scoffer” Caitlin Bassett and bring on Caitlin Thwaites, under Section 9A of the Caitlin substitution rule.
Thwaites thought that Langman and Tutaia’s double act in the final quarter of their match was pretty great, so she decided to emulate them by passing back and forth between herself and the goal ring a few thousand times.
Midway through the quarter, the English supporters started singing ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ and were swiftly ejected from the stadium.
Australia closed out the game, finishing with a 10-goal win and a whole bunch of new supporters who swear they don’t even know what cricket is anymore.
Now we move on to a few more days of meaningless games, before the real tournament recommences in the semi-finals on Saturday.
It does seem strange to keep throwing these random games at us in the middle of a World Cup, but I’m sure the organisers know what they’re doing.