This month sees the international netball season take centre stage with the fiercely competitive Constellation Cup. World number one, versus world number two in a four match series. This is a must watch for any netball fan (any sports fan really).
The Samsung Diamonds have held dominance over the Silver Ferns since 2011 (the Diamonds have won 23 games from 34 played) but in 2017 the landscape seems to be shifting slightly. Both teams have new line-ups, both are coming off hugely successful domestic seasons and for the first time since 2012, New Zealand won a series involving Australia.
In the recent Netball Quad Series, it all came down to the last game of the tournament. The Silver Ferns needed to beat the Diamonds by four to claim their first Netball Quad Series trophy. Not only did they win, but they convincingly took care of the World Champions by ten goals. The game was won in the first quarter, with the Silver Ferns winning the opener by 18 goals to 10. This included a five-goal streak by Te Paea Selby-Rickit between the four minute mark and six minute mark that saw the score blow out from 3-2 to 8-2.
2017 Netball Quad Series Quarter by Quarter Score:
From the Quad Series there are several statistics that stand out as being pivotal leading into the Constellation Cup. The Silver Ferns scored six more goals than the Diamonds and converted seven more centre passes. In simplistic terms, if a team can convert every single one of their centre passes they win the game.
Two statistics where the Diamonds had the advantage across the tournament were intercepts and deflections. Across the three games the Diamonds had five more intercepts and nine more deflections. However against the Silver Ferns in the last game this wasn’t the case. The Diamonds had seven intercepts but the Silver Ferns had nine and the Diamonds managed to deflect the ball 17 times compared to the Silver Ferns 18.
2017 Netball Quad Series Team Statistics:
The Diamonds penalty rate would be alarming the Australians. They conceded 253 penalties compared to the Silver Ferns 188 across their three games of the Quad Series. An aggressive defensive structure can be beneficial if it unnerves the opposition but it is also a fine line. Giving away so much free possession is eventually going to bite you and this was the case in the final game. The Diamonds conceded 86 penalties (61 contacts and 25 obstructions). This translated in the Silver Ferns having 58% possession. The Diamonds may be able to come out of top against lower ranked teams but with a lopsided possession rate and giving away so many penalties against the calibre of the Silver Ferns, it is always going to make it tough to get that victory.
Turnovers is another statistic where the Diamonds need to improve. They had ten more turnovers across the tournament with the last game they gave possession to the Silver Ferns 39 times. This was the most by any team in six games played.
Sometimes teams have bad days. Maybe this is what happened for the Diamonds the last time they played the Silver Ferns. I am confident that the Diamonds will be fired up and ready to redeem themselves. Two games in New Zealand and two games in Australia makes a level playing field, but I think the disappointment of losing by double figures last time will be enough for the Diamonds to play to their potential and come out on top.
By Christian Eshman, Sports Manager Champion Data
All stats provided by Champion Data
(Official Data Provider to Netball Australia and the Samsung Diamonds)