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Diamonds edge Jamaica to face England in Netball World Cup final

Australia coach Stacey Marinkovich celebrates victory over Jamaica. Shaun Roy/Gallo Images/Netball World Cup 2023

Australia have earned a shot at Netball World Cup revenge against England after a thrilling 57-54 semi-final win over Jamaica in Cape Town earned them a rematch with the Roses in the tournament decider.

The game was tied 50-50 on Saturday going into the last five minutes, but a big play by goal keeper and player of the match Courtney Bruce helped turn the tide in Australia's favour.

Third-ranked England, who shaded Australia 56-55 in last Thursday's final round of preliminary games, had earlier advanced to their first World Cup final with a 46-40 semi-final win over defending champions New Zealand.

"We played really smart with the ball, we were very, very patient, we had the movement," said Diamonds captain and wing attack, Liz Watson.

"It was an incredible team performance."

The final, which will start at 2am Monday (AEST), will be the first one in seven since 1995 not to be contested by Australia and New Zealand.

Bruce was massive in defence with two intercepts and four gains as the world's No.1 side maintained their record of never having missed a World Cup final.

The score was tied at quarter and halftime, with neither side leading by more than three at any stage of the first 30 minutes.

Early in the third quarter, Australia had an 8-1 run in their favour, during which Bruce nabbed two intercepts as the Diamonds opened up a six-goal lead.

Jamaica goal keeper Shamera Sterling pulled off a couple of big defensive plays as the Sunshine Girls were on the right end of an 8-2 run which levelled the score late in the quarter.

Australia scored the last two goals of the quarter to lead 42-40, but previously unbeaten Jamaica piled on the first three of the final term to hit the front, before the Diamonds edged ahead down the stretch. .

Bruce's world-beating West Coast Fever Super Netball teammate Jhaniele Fowler made 46 of 47 shots in her 100th appearance for Jamaica, but it was not enough to stop them suffering their first loss of the tournament.

"When you come up against Jhaniele you might not get every single ball but one in 10 is okay," Bruce said.

At the shooting end, vice-captain and goal attack. Steph Wood (29/32) was rock solid for Australia in the second half after missing three attempts in the first, and goal shooter Cara Koenen (28/30) was also strong.

Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich retained the same starting seven from the loss to England, but made numerous changes through the game, with midcourter Jamie-Lee Price doing well of the bench in an extremely physical contest.

"We knew that we'd need more that the seven out on court and It was just making the right time to inject," Marinkovich said.

In the earlier semi-final, the scores were locked at the end of each quarter and with five minutes to go, but England, the only unbeaten team in the tournament, reeled off the last six goals of the game.

"I think tomorrow's game is going to be a cracker," Marinkovich said, looking ahead to the final.