The Australian Diamonds have recovered from a slow start to beat New Zealand’s Silver Ferns 57-42 in the first of netball’s four-game Constellation Cup series in Brisbane on Sunday.
Coming into the game after winning the Quad Series with New Zealand, South Africa and England, the Diamonds struggled early but a six-goal burst in the second quarter secured them a comfortable win – their eighth straight over the Silver Ferns.
In a match where all 12 Diamonds got on the court, skipper Caitlin Bassett and goal attack Steph Wood played the first half before Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett took the court after the long break.
Bassett scored 17 from 21 shots and Wood seven from 11, while Thwaites and Tippett were perfect from 21 and 12 shots respectively.
Maria Folau led the way for the Silver Ferns, shooting 26 from 29.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander’s side was fortunate to be level after an error-strewn first quarter but steadied.
“We were a little bit stunned I think but we worked our way back into it, which was terrific,” Alexander said.
“It was quite an outlier of a quarter. To change it up at quarter-time and really put the foot down and play some good netball in that second quarter was pleasing.
“Sometimes you have to grind it out and get on with it.”
The Samsung Australian Diamonds showed the strength and depth in the team, with every player getting court time and putting on a show to win the first game of the 2018 Constellation Cup.#GoDiamonds #BattleOfNations #ConCup18 #AUSvNZL pic.twitter.com/iOLAGhGL39
— Samsung Diamonds (@AussieDiamonds) October 7, 2018
The Silver Ferns’ mid-game slump was particularly disappointing for the visitors, who pushed the Diamonds to five points in their Quad Series clash a fortnight ago.
Veteran New Zealand centre Laura Langman bemoaned their inability to put a full game together.
“We said right from the outset we wanted consistent performances and we definitely didn’t do that today,” Langman said.
“Straight after the game all of us identified those soft errors. I was guilty of a number today. It’s just not good enough and not international standard.
“We’ve got to sort that out and that will put us in the fight when that happens.”
The teams will meet again in Townsville on Wednesday before ending the series with two games across the ditch.