Samoa netball coach Marcia Hardcastle believes her players are closing the gap on Pacific rivals Fiji despite an agonising 46-44 defeat in Suva on Wednesday.
The visitors scored the first three goals in the match but finished behind at the end of all four quarters.
Samoa cut the deficit to one heading into the final 15 minutes and leveled the scores at 44-all with two minutes remaining, before Fiji found two crucial goals, and an intercept in the dying moments.
Marcia Hardcastle was pleased with how much her defenders were able to disrupt Fiji's attack with the hosts shooting just 60 percent compared to Samoa's 88 percent.
She says, despite coming up short, progress is still being made.
"The effort was awesome and I think for us it's making sure that we can have a bigger pool to work with. We know what we've got and it's just giving the girls that extra experience at international level. Our fitness is not really there at this stage of the year but at least that's something we've got to work on [and] the girls [will] individually reflect on what they need to do here and now. I guess it opens up for the next trials starting next month.