The Samsung Diamonds have claimed the Constellation Cup with a 12-goal victory over the Silver Ferns in Adelaide on Wednesday night.
The Constellation Cup will stay on Australian shores for the sixth straight year.
It was neck and neck in the opening quarter, neither team able to get the edge. The Diamonds finished the term with a slight advantage, 12-10.
Stephanie Wood entered the game at goal attack at the start of the second quarter, a move coaches have previously saved for the second half in the two New Zealand hosted tests.
The Australians were able to capitalise on turnovers in the second quarter, with a few short bursts seeing them take a 10-goal lead halfway through.
New Zealand reacted by adjusting their entire midcourt and made changes at both ends, with Te Paea Selby-Rickit going into goal shooter and Temalisi Fakahokotau into goal keeper.
The Diamonds doubled the Ferns’ second quarter score, going into the main break with a healthy advantage, 30-19.
The Ferns regained their composure in the third quarter, with some dominant plays of their own. The New Zealanders stifled the Australians’ transition from defence to attack, according to Coach Lisa Alexander.
“What we were disappointed in was our lack of ability to bring it out of defence when we’ve won a lot of turnover ball, even in that first quarter we should have been more ahead,” said Alexander.
“Credit to the Silver Ferns. They did a really good job of stopping us, we’ll have to go back and have a look at that.”
Jo Weston was injected into the game at goal defence and the Diamonds held their lead into the final break, 38-34.
Further changes were made in the final quarter, with Kate Moloney becoming the 174th netballer to represent Australia.
“We needed an injection of drive in there and Kate Moloney and Liz have played together. I could see their connection just grow another level in that last quarter which was great,” said Alexander.
Caitlin Thwaites was substituted into goal shooter, making her first appearance in this series. The Diamonds used a more mobile shooting circle to gain the upper hand.
“The way that I play and the way that CBass (Caitlin Bassett) plays is very different, so in terms of (New Zealand’s) hunting ability, it was just to get on the move a little bit and make them think about something different,” said Caitlin Thwaites.
“It was very different to the way that CBass holds under the post, so they didn’t necessarily know where I was which was the aim and it freed up Steph (Wood) a lot,” she said.
The Ferns made wholesale changes, but failed to reconnect out on court and put a stop to the Diamonds, who scored seven unanswered in the opening four and a half minutes of the final term.
Courtney Bruce was named player of the match, with three intercepts, deflections and rebounds.
Samsung Diamonds shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 29/31 (94%)
Susan Pettitt 2/2 (100%)
Caitlin Thwaites 10/13 (77%)
Stephanie Wood 14/18 (78%)
New Zealand Silver Ferns shooting statistics
Maria Tutaia 16/20 (80%)
Bailey Mes 16/17 (94%)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit 11/15 (73%)
Match MVP: Courtney Bruce (Australia)
The Diamonds will face the Silver Ferns in the fourth and final match of the 2017 Constellation Cup at 3.00pm AEDT Saturday 14 October. Tickets are available for the Test in Sydney. Get tickets now. Watch live on Channel 9 and the Netball Live app.
A Gutsy performance from both sides