New Zealand have finished day one of the Fast5 World Series undefeated after a thrilling final contest which saw them take down Australia 34-32.
It’s redemption for New Zealand after a loss last year in the Bronze medal match against Australia which saw them knocked out of medal contention.
Two points from Aaliyah Dunn late in the match sealed the game for New Zealand.
Dunn led the way for the Kiwis hitting 10 out of her 14 attempts and proving deadly from the two point line.
Australia made the most of their power play opportunities in the second quarter but New Zealand responded in the third quarter to only be a goal behind heading into the final term.
It was a battle of the shooters during the power play quarters with Dunn owning the New Zealand goal circle while Kiera Austin found her range for Australia.
In a final quarter showdown it went point-for-point before New Zealand’s pressure proved too much for the Aussies seeing them take their third consecutive win.
Kimiora Poi and Whitney Souness gave classy performances through the midcourt earning back the ball for New Zealand through fierce defensive pressure and playing a crucial role in forcing hesitation in Australia’s attack.
“It’s that old saying, you don’t want to go through the whole tournament smooth sailing then get to the grand final and have it be a bit of a shock,” said Australian midcourter Maddy Proud.
“We obviously would’ve liked to have got the win, I don’t think it’s the worse thing that could’ve happened to us and it just makes us come back that little bit hungrier tomorrow.”
New Zealand will go into day two as hot favourites in the Fast 5 series after their performance in today’s three matches.
“I think we’ve got two more games they’re both going to be just as hard as today so just go back to the hotel, recover well, eat well and turn up tomorrow,” said New Zealand goaler Aliyah Dunn.
New Zealand (34) Australia (32)
Power Plays: New Zealand Q3 Australia Q2
AUSTRALIA STARTING FIVE: Sophie Garbin (GS), Keira Austin (GA), Maddy Proud (C), Kim Jenner (GD), Sarah Klau (GK)
NEW ZEALAND STARTING FIVE: Bailey Mes (GS), Monica Falkner (GA), Whitney Souness (C), Holly Fowler (GD), Sulu Fitzpatrick (GK)