20 Oct 2019

Silver Ferns take Constellation Cup lead after edging out Diamonds

8:44 pm on 20 October 2019

New Zealand have edged Australia 54-53 in another trans-Tasman netball classic to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match Constellation Cup series.

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Ameliaranne Ekenasio made the winning shot for the Silver Ferns with 20 seconds remaining. Photo: Photosport

The Silver Ferns trailed by six goals early on, but sparked by veterans Laura Langman and Maria Folau, the world champions fought their way back in front of 13,497 fans at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.

Australian-born Ameliaranne Ekenasio made the winning shot with 20 seconds remaining, after both teams made some errors in a pressure-packed final five minutes.

It's New Zealand's first Test win over the Diamonds in Australia in three years.

The Silver Ferns can clinch just their second Constellation Cup series win in 10 attempts and their first in seven years if they win the final match in Perth next Sunday.

It was another one-goal loss for the Diamonds, after defeats by that margin in the Commonwealth Games and World Cup finals and the first match of their current series.

Australia got an early jump, with fast slick passing and five straight goals setting up an 8-2 lead.

New Zealand got back to within three by quarter-time.

The Diamonds also started the second quarter well, again establishing a six-goal buffer, but their opposition reduced the deficit to one with a 5-0 run.

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander replaced goal attack Gretel Tippett, who had made all 12 of her shots and replaced her with Tegan Philip, who missed with her first two attempts.

Australia won the second quarter by one to lead 30-26 at half-time.

Alexander brought Tippett back on for Philip after half-time, while Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua introduced Gina Crampton at wing attack for Shannon Saunders.

The Ferns had an 8-1 run to start the third to lead 34-31.

Just over five minutes into the quarter, Alexander made three changes with goalkeeper Sarah Klau, Philip and shooter Caitlin Thwaites replacing Courtney Bruce, Tippett and Caitlin Bassett respectively.

Australia regained the momentum and took a 43-42 advantage into the final quarter only for New Zealand to hit back and lead 48-45.

The Diamonds led 52-50 with about five minutes to play but couldn't close it out.


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