Silver Ferns grab early series lead
Sun, 16 Sep 2012 7:23p.m.
By Guy Hand
If Australia's netballers want to retain their ascendancy over New Zealand, they'll have to do it the hard way.
The Silver Ferns now have an early lead in the three-Test series and home-court advantage for the remainder after an enthralling 54-52 win in the Constellation Cup opener in Melbourne today.
Deadly goalshooting from Maria Tutaia and Irene van Dyk - the latter shooting at an amazing 97 percent for the match - steered New Zealand to a victory built on a decisive third quarter.
Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander felt the New Zealanders had "out-Australianised" the home side, with patient play and shot selection proving the difference despite the Ferns losing skipper Casey Williams to pre-match injury.
With the 10,000-strong pro-Australian crowd at Hisense Arena to be replaced by more hostile audiences in Auckland on Thursday and Christchurch on Sunday, Alexander remains confident a few tweaks can re-polish the world champion Diamonds.
"We know that it doesn't matter where we play. It's the same-sized court, different crowd," she said.
"But if we're really focused on what we do, we can get two wins away from home."
After New Zealand led by six goals early in the final period and with the game seemingly gone, Australia powered back late with replacement shooter Caitlin Bassett steering the Diamonds to within two goals with 80 seconds left.
Bassett's 15 of 17 shooting in her sole quarter on court echoed her heroics in Australia's world championship win over the Silver Ferns last year in which her late extra-time goal sunk the Kiwis.
Fittingly Tutaia put the issue beyond doubt in the final minute, having missed just one attempt at goal in the final three quarters.
New Zealand coach Waimarama Taumaunu was predictably thrilled with van Dyk and Tutaia's efforts at the net.
Taumaunu is hopeful rather than confident skipper Williams, who had knee soreness after the team's final training session, will play on Thursday.
"There's quite a bit of room for improvement," Taumaunu said of her team's performance.
Australian veteran Cath Cox was excellent in her three quarters, shooting at 82 percent before making way for Bassett.
Australia must now replicate their efforts of last year to retain the Constellation Cup.
The Diamonds rebounded from a first Test loss in Perth to win the remaining two matches of the series.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
16/09/2012 8:55:53 p.m.
I'm glad Nz kept their nerve when Bassett came on in the last quarter. It's so hard to defend against a really tall shooter. Good start to the series.
After the rowing success at the London Olympics, a number of...
While Coliseum says it's focused on football, could they cha...
The way we watch televised sport is about to undergo a major...
Taranaki Rugby Union CEO says ticket scalpers are making add...
Miami Heat's Mike Miller hit a three point shot with one sho...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.