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Aussie netball great Catherine Cox has accused the Diamonds of 'shutting up shop' in the fourth quarter before their shock loss to Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games.
Jamaica caused an astonishing boilover in Birmingham on Thursday night to beat Australia for the first time ever.
Led by superstar goal-shooter Jhaniele Fowler, Jamaica came from six goals down at the final break to stun the Diamonds 57-55 in front of a raucous NEC Arena crowd.
Fowler - a four-time Super Netball MVP with the West Coast Fever - made 14 of her 47 goals in the final quarter, including five straight to turn a 48-45 deficit into a 49-48 lead.
"It's surreal, we've not beaten Australia at a Commonwealth Games and to come here and do it with an incredible team, just go out there and prove everyone wrong was really good," Fowler said.
— John Casey (@JohnCasey2880) August 4, 2022
"Most definitely it does mean more (to beat Australia). Why do we go down from here? It's only up from here.
"Australia is No.1 and if we beat the No.1 team that means we can do anything.
"We want to go home with either a gold or a silver medal, but we're going for the gold, that's always been our focus."
Speaking in commentary for Channel 7, retired Aussie star Cox suggested the Diamonds relaxed in the final quarter thinking they would cruise home.
“Australia couldn’t win the ball back," Cox said after claiming the Diamonds had "shut up shop".
"It was some brilliant defensive work from Jamaica. They really just lifted another level in the fourth quarter.
“How quickly has this game been turned on its head. It looked like Australia had taken control and it was all over.”
The Aussies hadn't lost a single quarter all Games until Thursday's final period.
After weathering the early Jamaican charge, they had seemingly asserted themselves in the third with some brilliant mid-court play.
Australia's two-pronged attack of Gretel Bueta (36 goals from 39) and Steph Wood (19 from 22) did all they could to get Australia home, but the loss handed top spot in Pool A to Jamaica.
"We probably let ourselves down with some execution stuff in that last quarter," centre Kate Moloney said.
"Up until three-quarter time, up by six goals - credit to Jamaica but we probably should have been able to run that one out.
"When they've got weapons like they do ... you never really have it."
Holy shit. I want a Jamaica England final SO BAD
— Natalie Morris (@Nmozz) August 4, 2022
Unbelievable Cath. I'm here, watched it live, the crowd were screaming for Jamaica. I feel Shamera took Gretel out of the game in that last quarter. So many passes to get to goal for the Diamonds, exhausting. I reckon Aus v Jam final 🇦🇺
— Ali (@alimulrooney) August 4, 2022
Wow Jamaica beat the Diamonds
— 🐝 (@blackqueenfj_) August 4, 2022
— Michelle Stanley (@michlstan) August 4, 2022
* Just magnificent by Jamaica; the monster Super Netball helped build.
* Huff n puff Bruce whistled out again. Braz well down.
* Versatility means nothing if you don't use it.
* Where are the Wood detractors at?
* Standard of world umpiring remains elephant in room.#B2022Netball
— Erin Delahunty (@della79) August 4, 2022
Honestly I can’t be mad about Jamaica winning. Go for gold I say, let’s shake things up around here #B2022Netball
— Megan Maurice (@meganmaurice) August 4, 2022
Wow! Is everyone paying attention? Jamaica are here to PLAY! They are serious Gold medal contenders having just beaten the world number one’s, Australia 57-55 (while securing their first win against Aus in a Commonwealth Games). Tingles. #B2022Netball pic.twitter.com/hC7UXHKya1
— Sacha Shipway (@SachaShipway) August 4, 2022
Diamonds no match for unstoppable Jhaniele Fowler
Should the Diamonds get another crack at the Sunshine Girls in the final, they will need to find an answer for Fowler's brutal combination of size, strength and skill.
As she has done in the Australian league for years, Fowler did as she pleased on the court.
The Diamonds conceded there's little they can do to stop her once the ball gets anywhere near the shooting circle.
"She's such a target in there, we really need to protect Courto and Sarah (Courtney Bruce and Sarah Klau) in that goalkeeper position," Moloney said.
"Once it gets to circle edge there's not much they can do. It's up to us to slow that ball down."
Centre Paige Hadley was again missing for the Diamonds due to a calf injury and she will continue to be monitored ahead of Saturday's semi-final.
The Diamonds will meet England in the final four after the hosts later beat reigning world champions New Zealand 54-44.
England were never behind as they claimed a one-point advantage at half-time before pulling away to lead by six at end of the third quarter.
They then staged another final quarter surge to secure a 10-point victory.
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