Congratulations to the Australian 21/U Netball Team who have been crowned the World Youth Netball Champions, defeating arch rivals New Zealand 64- 46.
Australia set up the victory in the first quarter which ultimately was the difference in the result to give a comfortable buffer against the charging New Zealand outfit.
Australian 21/U coach Simone McKinnis was thrilled with her team`s match winning performance.
"That was the best start I have seen by a team especially in a final," she explained.
"The team really set themselves up in the first quarter."
It was a perfect start for Australia when Tegan Caldwell put the first score on the board with the team then taking an early 7-1 lead before an injury time was called by NZ in the 11th minute.
At quarter time the Australians led 21-5 and had exposed the NZ zone moving the ball with speed through the midcourt.
Defensively the Aussies were brilliant early and forced NZ to make wholesale changes at the first break.
The changes helped NZ get back into the game during the second quarter however the Australians remained dominant in the air and held onto a 37-19 goal advantage at the main break.
McKinnis made her first change of the match at half time bringing Shannon Eagland into goal defence replacing vice captain Sharni Layton.
But as the game went into the second half, the young Aussies started to take their foot off the pedal and relaxed too much on the shot.
In the last two minutes the Australians regained their composure to take a 48-33 lead at the final change.
However, with the Pacific crowd well and truly behind the Kiwis it set up a tough final quarter.
When Courtney Tairi was brought into centre, she had an immediate impact nailing passes into the circle.
The Kiwis surged hard, but the strong start set up for victory for Australia who held on to finish convincing Champions, 64 - 46.
For McKinnis, the win is her career coaching highlight leading her first World Championship team.
"It was the longest game I have coached!" McKinnis explained.
"It was only in the last three minutes that I knew we had it."
Australia has now won four out of six World Youth Netball Championships.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS