Aust netballers lose thriller to NZ
A brave second half comeback wasn’t enough for Australia to avoid a 49-48 defeat to New Zealand in the first game of their three-Test netball series.
The Diamonds fought back from an 11-goal deficit to take the lead with four minutes left, but the Silver Ferns responded to reverse the result of their heartbreaking loss in the final of this year’s World Championships.
With the scores tied with less than a minute left, Maria Tutaia hit the shot which put New Zealand ahead before a Kimberley Green’s turnover ensured the visitors held on in front of a sold out crowd at the Burswood Dome.
Veteran goal shooter Irene van Dyk played a vital role for the Silver Ferns, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five 2011 Constellation Cup, nailing 27 of her 29 attempts.
Both Catherine Cox (14 goals from 23 attempts) and Natalie Medhurst (15 from 20) were inaccurate in the first half before Caitlin Bassett got Australia back in the game by making 19 of her 21 attempts after halftime.
The Diamonds were sloppy early in the match and were made to pay as the Kiwis made a strong start, taking a seven-goal lead within nine minutes and holding a 28-22 advantage at halftime.
To make matters worse for Australia, they also lost Julie Corletto to an apparent thigh injury in the second quarter.
The Silver Ferns’ lead reached 11 early in the third, but the hosts produced a brave comeback to put Australia in front with 4:30 left, only for the Silver Ferns to see off the comeback.
Meanwhile, Malawi thrashed South Africa 61-37 on the back of an impressive performance from goal shooter Mwai Kumwenda.© AAP 2013