A combined Pacific Islands netball team started strongly before fading in a 71-51 defeat against the New South Wales Institute of Sport, in their opening match of the Super Club tournament in Nelson.
Marama Vou is made up of five players from Fiji and three from Samoa, with local players in New Zealand filling the remaining numbers.
The composite team led 14-12 after the first quarter but were unable to maintain their momentum and trailed by six goals at half-time, 14 after three quarters and 20 at the final whistle.
Coach Vicki Wilson was pleased with her team's performance, despite only a couple of days preparation but admitted their lack of match-fitness was exposed as the game wore on.
"New South Wales, they started to find some great momentum and all of those young players who have come off a really tough state league season (in Australia). You could tell that they're match-fit and that's something that we really lacked," she said.
"We made a number of changes (throughout the match) - our intention is to give everyone court time and full quarters.
"Some of the changes gave us a little boost, others we lost our way a little bit so now we've got a bit of a handle on where players are at we can certainly make modifications in the line-up that we put out there so we can get more of a balanced line," said Wilson, who is also the coach of the Fiji Pearls national team.
Marama Vou finished winless in the inaugural Super Club competition last season but have added a Samoan influence to the Fijian core this time around in an effort to give players game-time in the build-up to next year's Netball World Cup.
Vicki Wilson, who is mentoring the team alongside Samoa head coach Frances Solia, said it was exciting to have players from both countries working together and complementing each other.
"To have young Laisani Waqa, a 16-year-old shooter from Fiji, with AJ Savelio as goal attack from Samoa, I think that's just terrific and also to have Annie Rasmussen-Nuualiitia out of the Samoan team feeding the ball in," she said.
"There's a lot of positives to come out of it and just seeing the girls being able to work together and react and recognise the situation and respond to it and do something about trying to make something happen to go their way.
"We call it playing with freedom and when they come off the court knowing that they've got nothing left in the tank, they've just tried everything."
Three of the five Fijian players and two of Samoa's three representatives have international experience and Vicki Wilson said the Super Club was a chance for the entire squad to test themselves.
"I spoke to a few of the Fijian girls and they're just going, 'oh the pace is so amazing and there's no let-up,' so it's a real steep learning curve for them."
Vicki Wilson was also pleased to see both teams embrace the two-point scoring option.
"First time they've ever played a competition with the two-point shot and they loved it. I think it's terrific and in fact I'd like to even see it rewarded for giving three points for shooting in that back third of the circle," she said.
In other results, the Gauteng Jaguars stunned the Southern Steel 65-61, the Mainland Tactix thrashed Singapore's Sneakers 86-51, while the Central Pulse were 66-33 winners against the University of Western Scotland's Sirens, who face Marama Vou this afternoon.