The Australian Diamonds take on their arch rivals the New Zealand Silver Ferns in the second semi-final at the Commonwealth Games in the match that many had predicted would be the final. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5pm AEST.
It’s very unusual for these two giants of international netball not to be battling it out for the gold medal but that doesn’t mean that this game should be seen as lacking any of the tension of a final.
The Diamonds have, as many expected, gone through the group stages in fine form and won all five of their games.
Whilst not surprising, the alarming side of things is that they seem to be getting better with each game and are still hungry to play that perfect game.
They are leading the competition in many of the key statistical areas including some crazy domination in the goals scored category – 50 more than the second placed team South Africa (who are not in the semis).
Add to that their depth on the bench and it really is hard to see where there is a chink in the armour that the Silver Ferns can aim to exploit.
For the New Zealanders, not only are they facing a very talented Australian team, their own form has slipping.
Even before the game there were some worrying signs when they lost two games to Jamaica (who will go up against England in the other semi final).
Those blips of form have become more concerning in the group stages here on the Gold Coast where they have lost to England and Malawi.
Despite these rumours of a decline in the Silver Ferns form, the Australians will clearly not be underestimating them.
Australian Centre Kimberley Ravaillion explained during the week that the New Zealanders are still fearsome and will look to lift against their old rivals.
There is a lot at stake in this game – obviously a gold/silver medal is up for grabs but beyond that this game could end careers.
Silver Ferns coach Southby has already had people calling for her head after the recent run of disappointing results and a loss to the Australians on Saturday could be the final act for her.
It’s going to be an amazing game. Since netball was introduced to the Commonwealth Games back in 1998 there has never been a final that hasn’t seen the trans-Tasman rivals go head to head.
This all changes in 2018 and it promises to be a classic to see who gets to keep their gold medal hopes alive.
Yes it’s a one off game and anything can happen.
Yes the Silver Ferns know they can beat the Diamonds.
Yes there will be great pressure on the Australians to win in front of their home crowd.
No, the Silver Ferns will not win this one.
Australia to win by 10 and go into the final in great form.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5pm AEST on Saturday.