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Diamonds clinch netball series against Proteas in historic Hobart Test

Australia have clinched the three-match series against South Africa with a 67-52 victory over the improving Proteas in the first netball Test to be played in Hobart.

As was the case in the opener last week, Australia won each quarter on Sunday, leading by margins of five, seven and 12 respectively at the end of the first three. But the final margin at MyState Bank Arena was four less than in the opening game and South Africa had the player of the match in exciting shooter Kamelo Maseko.

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Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich used all 12 players bar shooter Sophie Garbin as Australia recorded their 45th win over South Africa in as many games. It was a 15th victory from 18 games in 2023 for Australia, who have already won the Quad Series, the World Cup and the Constellation Cup.

Cara Koenen (27/27) was rock solid across all four quarters and fellow shooter Donnell Wallam (25/27) impressed after being brought on for the second half.

Five successive goals gave the Diamonds a 7-2 lead and they were up by five at quarter-time after racking up five intercepts. However, South Africa jumped the Diamonds at the start of the second, with a 6-1 run in their favour tying the scores.

Australia reasserted themselves, outscoring the Proteas 13-6 for the remainder of the quarter to lead 32-25 at halftime.

Neither Koenen or South Africa’s two starting shooters missed an attempt in the first half, but the Proteas weren’t as clinical as the Diamonds in converting gains and centre passes into goals.

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Marinkovich made four changes at halftime, feeling her side had become stagnant and needed more energy. The changes worked but South Africa continued to battle hard.

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Maseko (20/23) brought more flair to the Proteas attack and caught the Diamonds off guard on three occasions by scoring a goal after bouncing the ball off the post back to herself.

The series concludes in Hobart on Tuesday.