16 Sep 2013

Silver Ferns win opening test

6:20 am on 16 September 2013

A fourth quarter fightback wasn't enough for Australia as the Silver Ferns won the first Constellation Cup netball test 55-51 in Invercargill last night, consigning the Diamonds to a record-extending fifth straight loss.

Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu reserved any delight from their win over Australia, saying it's just the first in the best-of-five series.

Taumaunu says it's just a good start to the series and she's not going to overplay it any more than that.

The Diamonds trailed by just two points at half-time but the New Zealand side were up by 11 early in the final quarter, before Australia's strong finish brought them back to within four.

Australia also shot 91 percent to NZ's 85 with lanky goal shoot Caitlin Bassett slotting all 31 of her shots.

But it was the penalty count that really hurt the Diamonds with 80 contact and obstruction calls going against them, while the Silver Ferns were pinged 61 times.

The visitors also turned the ball over 20 times to the Ferns' 14.

Midcourter Laura Langman was named player of the match.

One area of concern going into Thursday's second Test in Auckland is the problematic wing attack position, where Courtney Tairi made her New Zealand debut.

The Australia-born 25-year-old made a solid if unspectacular start before she was replaced by Anna Thompson at half-time with New Zealand holding a narrow 31-29 lead.

Taumaunu says while both players brought different strengths to the game, they still have plenty of work to do.