5 Oct 2017

Silver Ferns expect Australia to hit back strong

4:40 pm on 5 October 2017

The New Zealand netballers are expecting to face a resurgent Australian side in tonight's Constellation Cup opener in Auckland.

Bailey Mes.
Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds, International Netball Quad Series, ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill, New Zealand. 3 September 2017. Copyright photo: Richard Dimmock / www.photosport.nz

Bailey Mes. Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds, International Netball Quad Series, ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill, New Zealand. 3 September 2017. Copyright photo: Richard Dimmock / www.photosport.nz Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 www.photosport.nz

Australia have won six of the seven previous Constellation Cup series, with New Zealand's only success in 2012.

Check out RNZ's live coverage of the game from 7.35pm.

The Silver Ferns won last month's Quad Series after upsetting the Diamonds by 10 goals in their first match since the end of the trans-Tasman competition.

Ferns' coach Janine Southby said she believed Australia would be far better prepared this time around.

"I know they'll be a lot more considered and careful about what they're releasing into the circle particularly, and they'll do a lot of work to try and get our defenders off their players and ultimately the ball into their shooters."

New Zealand's big win over Australia last month was helped by an impressive performance from young defender Kelly Jury.

Twenty-year-old Jury caused all sorts of problems for Australian shooter Caitlin Bassett.

Australia's coach Lisa Alexander said Jury was someone they have studied well since that last game.

So Southby wants support for Jury tonight from right across the team.

"We've talked in our camp about the ability for us to keep changing our game as well and to keep growing what we're doing.

"So it doesn't just come down to Kelly defending Bassett one-on-one it's also about what happens in front of her and there's that big message for the whole team that everyone's got to lift."

Both sides would be using the Constellation Cup to finalise their squads for April's Commonwealth Games, but Southby was also committed to winning the series.

"The good thing is that we do have flexibility and have players that can play more than one position, which is great."

The second game is in Christchurch on Sunday before the series moves to Australia next week for games in Adelaide and Sydney.

- RNZ

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