28/02/2024

New Zealand is lining up its first Constellation Cup victory in nearly a decade. Photo: silverferns.co.nz

After an impressive fight back by the Silver Ferns in the third test, they go in search of their first Constellation Cup win since their maiden title in 2012.

After an impressive fight back by the Silver Ferns in the third test, they go in search of their first Constellation Cup win since their maiden title in 2012.

The Diamonds came out fighting, but errors in the closing minutes meant ultimately the hosts took the game 55 to 49. 

The final test of the tour will mark the end of a great series despite who emerges victorious, with the physicality, intensity and skill all illustrating why this rivalry is so iconic.

What to expect 

There is no doubt the Diamonds will be hurting after that loss, having led up until the fourth quarter.

They had the firepower to take the win, with the shooting circle again impressing in the first half and defensively keeping Ferns under increased pressure. 

However, the world champions were never down and out and will be looking to carry that experience into the series decider. 

Although the Ferns will go into the game with the momentum, leading the series currently but also after their performance in the last 12 minutes of the game. 

Wilson came into her own, alongside captain Ekenasio who pushed her side all the way to get the win.

Poi came on and added the spark and intensity to give New Zealand the edge over Diamonds, who couldn’t find the answer to the Ferns’ newfound energy. 

In order for the Diamonds to take the series they have to beat the Silver Ferns by two, a very small margin in netball and very achievable task. But if the Ferns carry their form from the last quarter and Australia rattled by their fall-apart, who knows which way this will go.

One thing is for sure, this final test match will have a thrilling climax to an event that has captured the attention of netball fans globally.

Will Noeline Taurua side lift the trophy for only the second time, or will the new Diamonds head coach get her dream start in her new role?

It’s all to play for. 

Squads

In terms of squads, Diamonds may look beyond the previously named players, such as Paige Hadley who despite having been in the programme for some time has not been named yet in the matchday squads.

Tippah Dwan could also make an appearance as coach Stacey Marinkovich looks to find her second established GA. 

Ferns however will presumably make little change after the impressive impact of Poi and the limited defenders they have to pick from. 

New Zealand: Ameliaranne Ekenasio (c), Maia Wilson, Bailey Mes, Monica Falkner, Gina Crampton, Claire Kersten, Sam Winders, Shannon Saunders, Kimiora Poi, Whitney Souness, Maddy Gordon, Karin Burger, Jane Watson, Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Australia: Liz Watson (c), Jess Anstiss, Kiera Austin, Caitlin Bassett, Courtney Bruce, Verity Charles, Sophie Garbin, Paige Hadley, Kimberley Jenner, Cara Koenen, Sarah Klau, Jamie-Lee Price, Maddy Proud, Kate Moloney, Gabi Simpson, Jo Weston. Tour invitees: Tippah Dwan, Tara Hinchliffe.

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