Tonga earn third PacificAus Sports Netball Series title against Malawi

Photo: Netball Australia

Tonga earned their third PacificAus Sports Netball Series title on the Gold Coast in Australia, beating Malawi by 13 goals in the final.

The tournament at the Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre served as a warm up for this year’s Netball World Cup in Cape Town, featuring Pacific nations and three African countries appearing for the first time.

One of those debutants in Malawi, ranked sixth in the world, reached the final.

They topped Pool A thanks to a 54-47 win over Fiji, 64-49 victory against Papua New Guinea and 57-39 triumph over Samoa, before winning their semi-final against Zambia 48-35.

Back-to-back PacificAus Sports Netball Series champions Tonga, ranked seventh in the world, led the way in Pool B with an 85-40 thrashing of Singapore, 71-44 victory against Kenya and 59-47 win against Zambia.

They saw off Fiji 68-52 in the semi-final, setting up a decider against Malawi.

Tonga narrowly led 12-11 after the first quarter, and preserved their one-goal lead at 23-22 at half-time.

They pressed home an advantage in the third quarter, building a seven-goal lead at the end of it at 39-32.

Tonga underlined the supremacy in the final quarter, and ran out 54-41 winners.

Uneeq Palavi starred for the tournament winners, netting 47 of their goals in the final, with Marie Hansen grabbing the other seven.

Sindi Simtowe and Jane Chimaliro led for Malawi with 23 and 15 goals respectively.

Zambia edged out Fiji 56-55 to take bronze at the PacificAus Sports Netball Series. Samoa ranked fifth with a 59-51 win against Kenya, and Singapore took seventh with a 56-45 victory against Papua New Guinea.