Australia has silenced an insane English crowd to knock off England and progress to the Commonwealth Games netball final.
The Diamonds were made to put their elbows out in a bruising, spiteful clash at the National Convention and Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
The Aussies triumphed 60-51 in a match that threatened to boil over at times.
The physicality was exposed early in the match when England’s Layla Guscoth crashed hard into the goalpost and ended up breaking it.
The match had to be postponed for several minutes and players were asked to leave the floor as officials replaced the entire pole.
With the scores at 3-3 Guscoth ended up straddling the post with one leg on either side as an attempted intercept went wrong.
“She literally straddles and lowers herself,” former Diamond Cath Cox said.
“I’ve never seen that in a game.”
Commentator Sue Gaudion also said: “Extraordinary footage. We never thought we’d be paused at three-all to fix a goal post. Unbelievable stuff.”
Guscoth was sheepishly smiling as she got back to her feet and walked back to her team’s bench.
When the new pole was finally brought out onto the court Guscoth had to help erect it again by helping the struggling officials push it up.
The drama continued minutes later when Aussie Joanna Weston was shirt-fronted by England’s Joanne Harten. The physical contest appeared to be getting out of hand.
“There’s no love lost between these two sides,” Cox said.
“Have a look at this. It’s on for young and old here. Jo Harten went out to challenge Weston and she doesn’t like what she is watching and no side is stepping down here. That is just going to escalate if the umpires do not stay on top of it.”
The Diamonds will play Jamaica in the final — the team that defeated them in the group stage — on Monday morning (AEST).
The win came on the back of a perfect start by the Diamonds where they led 15-12 at quarter-time and began to take some of the heat out of the crowd. The Aussies led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, but when the margin was cut back to six goals with six minutes to play the home crowd was going nuts.
It took a brave effort to finish the game off in such circumstances, and that is exactly what the Diamonds delivered for coach Stacey Marinkovich.
Originally published as Wild scenes as star straddles and bends pole in Comm Games netball semifinal