TOO GOOD: Courtney Bruce tries to defend against Te Paea Selby-Rickit in Invercargill.
TOO GOOD: Courtney Bruce tries to defend against Te Paea Selby-Rickit in Invercargill. Dianne Manson

Kiwis cut Diamonds down to size

NETBALL: Slick, gritty, tenacious and classy - traditional qualities of the Diamonds but attributes their netball nemesis New Zealand produced to bag its biggest win over the world No.1 Australian side since 2015.

The Silver Ferns rocked Australia's world in Invercargill to post a humbling 57-47 triumph, which cost the Diamonds their Quad Series defence and ended their bid to navigate the 2017 international netball scene undefeated.

"There were just too many errors on our behalf," new captain Caitlin Bassett said.

Coach Lisa Alexander's plan was always to use the Quad Series to blood players, add experience to the resume of others and test new combinations ahead of the Commonwealth Games early next year.

But it was also her intention to defend the title the Diamonds last won earlier this year in England.

But in the most anticipated netball battle of the year, the Ferns showed being barred from playing in the Australian Super Netball competition has not worked against them one bit with the New Zealand side schooling the young Australians.

Australia was left stunned by the intensity of the Silver Ferns, paying a high price for an explosive penalty count and series of basic errors.

In a game they failed to lead for even a second, the Australians trailed by eight at the end of the first quarter in a shock opening result.

One of the most inexperienced circle defence units to take the court for the Diamonds in recent times - Courtney Bruce and April Brandley, with less than 20 caps between them - struggled to contain New Zealand shooters Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes.

At the end it was a 10-goal blowout for the Australians, who must now regroup quickly for the October Constellation Cup series against the Kiwis.

Earlier, England held off an improving South Africa54-51 in their final match of the Quad Series.

Amanda Lulham

News Corp Australia


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