Netball world in uproar over 'unbelievable' umpiring gaffe in Aussie triumph

The Diamonds' quad series triumph came after controversy erupted in the final against New Zealand.

The umpire, pictured here watching the ball go in during Australia's netball clash with New Zealand.
The umpire couldn't recall the ball going in during Australia's netball clash with New Zealand. Image: Fox Sports

Netball fans and commentators have been left stunned by extraordinary scenes in Australia's quad series win over New Zealand. The Diamonds secured the title on Wednesday night in South Africa after finishing the four-team tournament undefeated.

However Wednesday night's 56-50 victory over New Zealand in Cape Town came amid controversy over a comical umpiring gaffe. With the Aussies up 51-44 in the final quarter, New Zealand shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio nailed a goal as the umpire called obstruction on Diamonds goalkeeper Courtney Bruce.

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Bruce tangled with Grace Nweke and both players went tumbling to the ground as Ekenasio's shot went through the net. But the tumble involving Bruce and Nweke seemed to distract the umpire, who couldn't recall seeing the ball go in.

In extraordinary scenes, the umpires called a throw-in to Australia, deciding that New Zealand had taken the penalty and missed the shot. Both umpires conferred and couldn't recall seeing the ball go in, awarding possession to Australia as a result.

“How is it you have a situation where neither umpire sees whether or not the goal is scored? It’s extraordinary,” Jenny Woods said in commentary. “This is nuts! We have proof of the goal being scored. Surely they could have gone to the bench. We have seen everything now in this game.”

The umpire, pictured here seeming to be distracted by Courtney Bruce and Grace Nweke falling to the ground.
The umpire seemed to be distracted by Courtney Bruce and Grace Nweke falling to the ground. Image: Fox Sports

Cath Cox added: “I cannot believe my eyes. We’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Wow, wow, wow. I haven’t seen that happen in any game I can remember.”

After players and coaches told the umpires that the ball had in fact gone in, the officials decided to restart the game with a toss-up. They came to the conclusion that they couldn't award the goal because neither could say they'd seen the ball go in.

Diamonds show netball dominance in quad series win

The quad series triumph was an emphatic statement from a Diamonds side intent on getting their world title back. It marked Australia's seventh title in eight instalments of the four-team competition against New Zealand, South Africa and England.

The Diamonds have now won four-straight games against New Zealand and will be hell-bent on winning back the World Cup crown the Silver Ferns claimed in 2019 in Liverpool. Stacey Marinkovich's side will return to the same Cape Town International Convention Centre in August for the latest edition of the World Cup on the back of recent wins in the Constellation Cup and Commonwealth Games.

"Really happy with that one," Diamonds captain Liz Watson said. "We built something in this second match against the Silver Ferns. It's a really great confidence builder for us - we put out a really great last quarter that we've been wanting to do this whole series."

The Diamonds, pictured here celebrating their netball quad series triumph.
The Diamonds celebrate their netball quad series triumph. (Photo by Grant Pitcher/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Steph Wood was once again the star for Australia, scoring 33 goals from 34 attempts. The shooter was voted player of the match after her sparkling display on Wednesday.

"It was a really tough match, a real quality one - and every time we come up against the Ferns, they're getting better and better," said Wood. "We train against our own defenders, who definitely give us a tough time - and we want to make training harder than games, so that when you come to the match against tough defenders, you know what to do."

with AAP

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