GOLDEN GIRLS: The England Roses upstaged favourites the Australian Diamonds to take gold in the Commonwealth Games netball.
GOLDEN GIRLS: The England Roses upstaged favourites the Australian Diamonds to take gold in the Commonwealth Games netball. DARREN ENGLAND

Cheering on the Poms

FEEL free to take my 'Aussie card' after this.

My favourite part of the Commonwealth Games came at the expense of the host nation.

The Australian Diamonds - our all-conquering netball team - had done as expected and cruised through the group stages and into the gold medal match on the final weekend of competition.

Their opponents the England Roses were given little chance of an upset, despite only a narrow defeat to the Diamonds when the two teams last met.

But it quickly became apparent the Aussies would not have it all their own way on Sunday.

Now I will admit I did not pay a great deal of attention to the Games, outside of passing viewing each night and of any Ipswich athletes competing.

But I was out of my seat for much of the Diamonds v Roses contest, such was the occasion.

The Poms took it up to our girls, and the lead changed hands dozens of times. With minutes to play, Australia held a four-goal advantage.

But as had been the case the whole afternoon, England responded to first level and then go ahead. The Diamonds squared the ledger soon after, but left 16 seconds on the clock and England made them pay.

Now do not get me wrong, it was disappointing to see the Aussies take the silver after their dominance throughout the tournament.

But the absolute jubilation on the faces of the English girls was not something to ignore. Outside of their camp, no one gave them a chance.

Aussies have to love an underdog story. Even if, begrudgingly, sometimes it comes at our expense.

And truly, these are always the best stories to come out of events like the Commonwealth Games.

The best thing about the Games

FAVOURITES become favourites for a reason, and nobody can question their determination or right to leave with gold.

But when someone 'does a Bradbury' and upsets the apple-cart - those are the stories we remember.

Over 11 days on the Gold Coast, the Aussie camp had plenty of their own dream narratives play out.

Evan O'Hanlon - now forever know simply as 'The Moustache' - did not let cerebral palsy stop him from claiming gold in the T38 100m.

Skye Nicolson won gold in the women's 56kg boxing, and dedicated the win to the memory of her two brothers killed in a car crash before she was born.

Bronte Campbell upset hot favourite and sister Cate to take out the 100m freestyle final.

Tia-Clair Toomey went from world's fittest woman to 58kg weightlifting gold medallist, just two weeks after the death of her cousin.

The journey an athlete takes to reach the pinnacle of their sport is almost always worth more than the destination.

Of the 474 athletes who represented Australia on the Gold Coast, they all had a story tell. Those lucky enough to stand on the podium and receive a medal capped their story with a tangible reward.

Many of my journalist colleagues were tasked with telling those stories over the past two weeks, and did a fantastic job.

The image of these Commonwealth Games may forever be soured by the rightly-spurned opening and closing ceremonies. But those are narratives quickly forgotten in the aftermath.

The stories of our athletes however - their trials and tribulations, their sacrifices and successes - have been immortalised.

How good is sport, eh?



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