Despite the loss to New Zealand Eleanor Cardwell was as productive as ever (Photo: Netball South Africa/Twitter)

Day three of the Netball Quad Series saw a similar story to day one, with Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand and Australia getting comfortable wins over England and South Africa

Day Three of the Netball Quad Series saw similar games to Day One, with Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand and Australia getting comfortable wins over England and South Africa respectively.

In the opening match of the penultimate day, the Silver Ferns finished off strongly, scoring 18 goals to 10 in the final quarter to get over the top of the Roses 55-45. Star shooter Grace Nweke and defender Phoenix Karaka led the way for Dame Noeline Taurua’s side.

The second match of the day saw the Diamonds rest many of their stars against the SPAR Proteas. Despite this they dominated from the outset, with shooter Kiera Austin and mid-courter Paige Hadley playing key roles in Australia’s 65-48 victory over the hosts.

The Inner Sanctum looks at the Five Takeaways from Day Three of the 2023 Netball Quad Series.

Fadoju v Nweke: A battle of two future prospects

Two of the brightest prospects in the international netballing arena faced off for the first time ever and their battle did not disappoint. Having made her debut recently, Fadoju has not played the young shooting sensation in Nweke in her international career.

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Whilst Fadoju predominantly played in goal defence and Nweke at goal shooter for the first three and a half quarters, there were still times when they faced off in that period.

It was Nweke who had the better game of the two, using her reach to her advantage, particularly when Fadoju was moved to goal keeper late in the game. She finished the game with shooting figures of 44/48 and collected one offensive rebound.

Fadoju still had her moments of brilliance though, particularly when in goal defence, collecting six gains, one intercept plus seven deflections.

Defensive intensity high from both Silver Ferns and Roses

Much like the Roses’ previous match, this one saw both defences shine brightly, making it hard for each team’s attacks to get any real consistency throughout the contest.

As they had all series, Fadoju and veteran keeper Geva Mentor combined well in defence before the latter was substituted. However no-one could stop Silver Ferns duo Jane Watson and Phoenix Karaka from dominating.

Karaka in particular worked hard throughout the match and was thoroughly rewarded by the end of it, finishing with the most gains (seven), the equal most rebounds (three) plus five deflections and two intercepts.

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Shooters keep shooting the lights out despite defensive pressure

In spite of all the defensive pressure provided by both teams, the talented shooting pool of the Silver Ferns and Roses still dominated under the post.

England duo Helen Housby and Eleanor Cardwell rarely missed a shot, combining for 45/51 and hitting their first 20 shots in the first half to keep their side in the match.

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Nweke and Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio dominated though, finishing with 55/61 goals and scoring 18/19 shots in the final quarter. Te Paea Selby-Rickit also slotted all of her shots when she was on the court.

Diamonds young guns grasp opportunity given to them

It was a significant day for both Sophie Dwyer and debutant Tara Hinchliffe, who both showed their potential on the penultimate day of the Quad Series.

Hinchliffe came on late in the second quarter to become the latest Diamond debutant, immediately slotting in defence alongside experienced campaigners Sarah Klau and Courtney Bruce. By the final whistle she had four gains, two intercepts plus two rebounds.

Meanwhile Dwyer was one of many changes at half-time, replacing Kiera Austin and proving to be a handful around the goal circle, finishing with 13 goals at 86.7 per cent, 10 goal assists, 11 feeds and one rebound.

They may not get the opportunity to prove themselves in the final against New Zealand, but the respective performances of Dwyer and Hinchliffe prove they are exciting future prospects for the Diamonds

Griesel provides defensive spark

In what was another tough day for the SPAR Proteas, wing attack Izette Griesel was a shining light both offensively and defensively.

Starting her first game of the series and playing all 60 minutes at the WA position, she provided the most feeds for South Africa (28) as well as receiving the most centre passes (16) for them to go with 12 goal assists.

However when defending she worked as hard as anyone on the court, finishing with the most intercepts (five) and second most gains (five).

It may’ve been a 17 goal defeat for the Proteas, but Griesel should still hold her head up high knowing she may get a chance to prove herself again in the third-place playoff.

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The final day of action in this year’s Quad Series will take place tomorrow morning (Australian time), with the England Roses and South African SPAR Proteas to battle it out for third place before the Australian Diamonds and New Zealand Silver Ferns face off in the final.

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