In their first World Championship appearance since 2013, the Australian women’s national team opened their 2019 campaign, at Kumamoto’s Prefectural Gymnasium, against Denmark.
The Aussie women had a strong start in the game. They were organised in attack, patiently waiting for the opportunities and, in defence, held back repeated Danish attempts at goal.
Manon Vernay, starting in goals for Australia, denied the Dane’s first shot, as did the Danish keeper to Australia’s first shot.
Australia scored first though, and followed-up with a quick reply after Denmark equalised, then matching Denmark for the first 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, early suspensions in the Australian team, left gaps in defence that Denmark capitalised on, and used it to build momentum, taking the first half 17:4.
Australia doubled their first half score, after the break, with 8 goals coming from well-organised set plays. Denmark, though, showed their experience increasing the lead, until the final whistle, to win by 37:12 (17:4 at the break).
Madeleine McAfee echoed the team’s attitude via social media, “we keep on working, we keep on learning and we take one game at a time”.
Australia’s veteran keeper, Jemima Harbort provided the highlight of the game, coming off the bench to save two penalty shots.
For Australia scorers were: Sally Potocki 4, Heather Cooper 2, Emma Guignard, Ana Meded, Madeleine McAfee, Rosa Boyd, Jess Fallah and Brianna Keyes all on 1 each. Whilst Denmark’s Trine Jensen top scored for the match with 6 goals.
Australia is placed in Group B, amongst powerhouse handball nations Denmark, Germany, current World Champions France, Asian Champions South Korea and 2013 World Champions Brazil.