Diamonds lose Test but retain Constellation Cup

The Australian Diamonds have retained the Constellation Cup despite New Zealand levelling the four Test series with a 58-47 win at Perth Arena on Friday night.

In front of a record crowd of 12,845 for a netball game in Perth, an inspired performance by the Silver Ferns in the final international outing of 2015 for both countries saw them go within minutes of snatching the trophy from the Diamonds hands.

But, despite the 11-goal loss, there was some consolation for the Diamonds in Lisa Alexander’s 50th Test as coach that they were able to claim the trophy on goal difference.

The Silver Ferns gave outgoing coach Wai Taumaunu the perfect send-off to as they claimed their biggest win over the Diamonds since September 2010 as they made it back-to-back wins against their arch rivals in three years.

2015 Constellation Cup Australia v New ZealandAs was the case in the third Test in Melbourne, the third quarter again proved decisive for the Silver Ferns after scores were level at the main break.

New Zealand dominated the term as the Diamonds made uncharacteristic errors and Silver Ferns shooters Jodi Brown and Bailey Mes punished them, racing away to a nine-goal lead heading into the final term.

They continued to push the lead out in the final term in their best performance of the series. Their defensive pressure was a feature of their game with centre Laura Langman prolific.

Brown was named the Most Valuable Player for her 34 goals at 82 per cent accuracy.

Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said while pleased to win the Constellation Cup for the fifth time in six years, the defeat was a flat way to end what had been a triumphant year for the team.

“It was obviously a disappointing performance from us; we really wanted to take a convincing win but full credit to the Silver Ferns,” Geitz said.

“They had a lot to play for and they put out a great performance.”

Diamonds shooter Caitlin Bassett, who scored her 1500th international goal in the opening quarter and finished the match with 38 goals at 95 per cent accuracy, said Australia made to many errors, especially in the second half.

“We had our chances and we squandered them,” Bassett admitted.

“The ball was getting down way too quickly in their attack end. Geitzy and Sharni (Layton) had a tough time trying to slow that down, so we needed to work on more full court defence to help them out.”

Official Result & Statistics
New Zealand (58) defeated Australian Diamonds (47)

Australian Diamonds shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett 38/40 (95%)
Natalie Medhurst 7/11 (63%)
Erin Bell 2/3 (66%)

New Zealand shooting statistics
Jodi Brown 34/41 (82%)
Bailey Mes 24/32 (75%)