Kiwis win Mixed - Aussies takes Open
Point-for-point was how the game was played throughout the finals between the neighbouring teams from down under.
But the `black bibs' came out on top amid loud cheer from their Kiwi compatriots, nailing a close win over the Australians, 38-36.
Despite going down to Australia by a margin of 30 points in their quarterfinal match yesterday, New Zealand managed a hat trick and scored points for points, keeping the Aussies on their toes.
The win saw Australia one short of a clean sweep as they also upset favourites New Zealand 52-43 in the Open Men's despite losing them to them on three occasions during the minor rounds.
"We had come here today to have some fun, we still wanted to win the title and go in as under-dogs," said NZ Mixed captain Falwasser
"Honestly, I did not think we were going to win today because how we had gone in the week, but we just played exceptionally well," he said.
But as the Kiwis celebrate their first win in the week over the Aussies, and the honour to be the first to win the inaugural tournament title in the mixed category, Australia blamed poor umpiring for their down fall.
Louise Dickeson, who coaches and also plays for the Australian side, did not mince her words when she blamed poor umpiring for their defeat.
The game was officiated by Fiji's Ovini Tui and Cook Islands' Teva Simiona.
"We were very disappointed because we felt that we weren't beaten by a better side. We felt that no matter what we did, we weren't able to get into the game because the umpire's interpretations was something we didn't feel was in line with what the rules are," protested Dickeson.
"We have beaten New Zealand three times this week...I just think that it's such a shame for netball...that this competition ended on this note. I don't think anyone in that stadium would have felt that that was a just and fair final.
She said that the standard of umpiring, or the poor control of the games today, could be justified by the differences in the number of penalties dished out to the Australian side in the two days of match with New Zealand.
She said Australians were penalized only 21 times yesterday, however 79 penalties were handed them today.
However, this claim was refuted by Simiona, who holds an Oceania B and New Zealand B qualifications.
He said the same international rules apply to everybody, and that decisions were applied equally to everyone.
In the Men's final, Australia shot in front from the whistle, never letting their guard down.
When height has always mattered, Australian Goal Attack Dan Ryan proved that other wise against his taller opponents as he top scored with 33 points in the finals.
It was also a memorable occasion for Captain Sikeli Seru, a Fijian by origin to win the Inaugural title in his home land.
How did they do it?
"It was a big motivational exercise for us, we had to play above ourselves because we had lost all our minor rounds against New Zealand,'' said the Lodoni native from the Southern-Eastern part of Viti Levu.
"We just stuck to our game and never looked back.
NZ Coach David Pala'amo said the Aussies came into the game more fired up and determined to win.
"There is a difference of players who can win anytime, and those who win as the competition moves up a certain level - Australia had that.''
Australia followed in the first 11-14, and came back one better in the second 24-23, kept it up in the 3rd 36-34 before blowing them away in the final run 52-43.
The next meet is set for 2006 in Suva.
Last Modified on 17/08/2004 11:31