It was an opportunity that went begging according to Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander after Australia missed the chance to secure the Constellation Cup title in Melbourne on Sunday.
Needing victory to keep the Constellation Cup alive, the Silver Ferns overcame a nine-goal third quarter deficit to send the four-Test series to a decider in Perth on Friday.
“There are no excuses, at the end of the day we should have won today,” Alexander said.
“That was an opportunity that went begging and that’s what this group have to understand.”
After the Diamonds claimed victories in Christchurch and Auckland, the Silver Ferns struck back on Australian soil with a gutsy and gritty come from behind victory in captain Casey Kopua’s 100th international Test.
The Australians couldn’t have asked for a better start after they led by six goals at quarter-time despite an inexperienced starting seven.
Without captain Laura Geitz and injured acting-captain Renae Ingles, along with the retirements of Kim Green, Julie Corletto and Rebecca Bulley, the Diamonds were without five players and 297 Tests of experience from the World Cup final.
Ashleigh Brazill got the nod at wing defence in her maiden international appearance while Gretel Tippett made her first start in the green and gold at wing attack.
Alexander was forced to substitute Caitlin Bassett at half-time after the shooter sustained a foot injury with the side leading by seven goals at the break before young defender Jo Weston because Australia’s fourth debutant this series.
“At the end of the day, we’re absolutely devastated we’ve lost this game,” Alexander said.
“We have to pick ourselves up and bring our A game to Perth, not a C game that wasn’t good enough today.”
The defeat ends the Diamonds’ 10-game Constellation Cup winning streak over the Ferns.
Acting-captain Natalie Medhurst said it was an honour to lead Australia for the first time but hoped to see Ingles return for the final Test.
“Not the result but we’ll review the way that we do, whether it’s a win or a loss, and prepare for Friday,” Medhurst said post-match.
The Australian Diamonds travel to Perth on Monday ahead of the 2015 Constellation Cup decider at Perth Arena on Friday 30 October.