Sport Netball Netball: Australia bests NZ to retain Constellation Cup

Netball: Australia bests NZ to retain Constellation Cup

Gretel Tippett of Australia is crunched by Silver Ferns' Karin Burger. Photo: AAP
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Australia has, in some small way, avenged its World Cup loss to New Zealand by winning its ninth Constellation Cup series with a 53-46 win in Perth on Sunday.

The series between the biggest rivals in netball ended up tied 2-2, but Australia’s retained the title having held it for the past seven series.

After a 15-7 opening quarter, Australia worked towards a 19-8 lead early in second quarter – its biggest margin of the series.

But just like previous games, the Silver Ferns hit back to close the gap.

Player of the match, Australia’s Ash Brazill, acknowledged the World Cup loss still hurt, but said it was “such a nice feeling” to beat the Silver Ferns.

“The last three weeks it has been a long three weeks,” Brazill told Channel Nine.

We have been talking about how they are world champions and they have the title for the next four years. It hurts.

“To get little wins like this we are super excited.”

It was an emotional moment for the Silver Ferns with New Zealand skipper Laura Langman acknowledging veteran shooter Maria Falau, who looks set to retire.

“Oh, the voice is a bit shaky. It is such a special moment for us today for Maria. Man! So many games. We are so grateful to have you,” Langman said on Channel Nine.

“You are an absolutely tremendous team person. When you turn and shoot you actually have no idea how much confidence and energy you give us all on court. So thank you give us all on court. So thank you for whatever you decide you are doing.

“It has been a fantastic tour and a sensational year to think where we have come from to where we have arrived to,” Langman said.

“And to think what our new benchmark is, it is so exciting for those of you who are yet to go forward.”

Before the match Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua had said her team would not have earned the right to be considered the undisputed top of the netball world despite its recent wins over Australia.

The Silver Ferns beat Australia by a goal at the World Cup in July, and have twice beaten the Diamonds by the same margin during the four-match series.

NZ has won the series just once in nine attempts since its inception in 2010.