20 Oct 2016

Ferns beaten in final Constellation Cup test

9:57 pm on 20 October 2016

The Silver Ferns have failed to level the Constellation Cup, losing 49-45 to Australia in the fourth and final test in Invercargill tonight.

Bailey Mes in action against Australia during the 2016 Constellation Cup Test series

Bailey Mes in action against Australia during the 2016 Constellation Cup Photo: Photosport

However, it was a far better performance from New Zealand, who were soundly beaten in game three.

Australia were strong out of the blocks again, winning the first quarter 13-9 but the Ferns responded well, winning the next term by one.

Coach Janine Southby opted to start Te Paea Selby-Rickit at GA, but replaced her part way through the second quarter with Test veteran Maria Tutaia.

That seemed to help with the fluidity on attack but the Australian defenders never let up.

Look back at our live blog of the match here.

At half-time the Diamonds only led 22-19 but the Ferns found it difficult to breach that buffer.

They had their opportunities in the last few minutes courtesy of an Anna Harrison tip but lost it again in the shooting circle.

New Zealand put up two more attempts at goal but GS Bailey Mes struggled with her accuracy, scoring 19 from 27.

Tutaia looked her old self, finishing with 17 from 20.

Harrison finished with two intercepts and eight deflections but her sterling work was often undone at the other end of the court.

The game was played with desperation and players from both sides received warnings.

The two sides have met five times this year, with New Zealand just winning once.

Southby though has blooded a number of promising young players and there's more competition in the shooting circle.

Tonight's game was also Laura Langman's last in the black dress for now, bringing an end to an unprecedented run of 141 consecutive appearances for New Zealand.

She's ineligible for the Ferns next year after signing with the new Australian domestic competition.