By Jess Fagan.
The Diamonds may have just earned the title of Australia’s most dominant sporting team.
They made it through 2014 undefeated, after overcoming England 54-47 in Canberra on Wednesday.
It stretches the Diamonds’ winning streak to 19 tests, dating back to September last year.
Renae Hallinan said it was a special moment for the side, and it’s something they will now get to reflect on and enjoy.
Full of confidence after defeating England last time out in Bendigo at the weekend, Australia started the match well and had a seven-goal lead by quarter time.
Wing Attack, Madi Robinson, was again brilliant in the mid-court, winning her third player of the match award from the last six test matches.
Her efforts were supported by strong shooting from Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst.
The Diamonds went into the main break leading 31-23.
Queensland’s Clare McMeniman made her international debut when she ran on at the start of the third quarter.
She pulled on the Goal Defence bib and became the 163rd player to represent Australia.
It was a sweet moment for McMeniman, who sat on the bench for the previous two Tests.
“I felt composed on the inside’, she said afterward. ‘I’ve been preparing for this for a long time and I feel like I fit into this group.’
The 29-year-old wasn’t thrown off by the fast pace of the game and savoured all 30 minutes of court time.
It was a much tighter second half, with England pulling the deficit back to three goals at one stage.
They capitalised when the Aussies were forced to make a change in the goal circle.
Goal shooter Caitlin Bassett was forced off with a foot problem.
Caitlin Thwaites briefly stepped into the role before Bassett was able to return to the court for the final quarter.
Despite some late pressure from the English side, Australia was able to maintain their lead until the final whistle.
It was Australia’s 400th International Test match, and a memorable win in front of more than 3,600 fans at Canberra’s AIS Arena.