18 Aug 2015

Silver Ferns lose World Cup final

12:09 pm on 18 August 2015

New Zealand's Netball World Cup dream is over after the Silver Ferns were beaten by Australia 58-55 in the final at Sydney.

The Silver Ferns Baily Mes grapples with Australia's Julie Corletto

The Silver Ferns Baily Mes grapples with Australia's Julie Corletto Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Diamonds were at their tenacious best in front of a world-record 16,752 home crowd as they claimed an 11th trophy from 14 world titles and their third in a row.

Missed the match? Catch up with our live blog, hosted by Megan Whelan, here.

The unfancied world No.2 Silver Ferns had blown the title race wide open a week ago when they upset the holders and raging favourites in pool play.

But in that match Australia's form was patchy and here, fired up from defeat, the hosts were fluent and defensively relentless.

Both coaches kept the faith in their starting semi-final line-ups, who duly kicked off proceedings at lightning pace.

New Zealand struggled on attack, with the Diamonds captain Laura Geitz restricting the movement of the Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes.

Bailey Mes takes the ball from Julie Corletto and Laura Geitz

Bailey Mes takes the ball from Julie Corletto and Laura Geitz Photo: p

Australia took a commanding nine-goal lead in the first 15 minutes (16-7), leaving New Zealand trailing throughout the match, despite winning three of the four quarters.

The Silver Ferns became more assertive in the second quarter, winning it by one (15-14) as Kayla Cullen picked up some useful turnovers in the midcourt.

But Australian goal-shoot Caitlin Bassett kept scoring quickly for the Diamonds and at half-time the hosts led 30-22.

Through out the match, the usually prolific New Zealand goal attack Maria Tutaia couldn't quite get her eye in from her favourite spot at the edge of the circle.

Tutaia did put away a few signature deadly long bombs (38 goals from 53 attempts), but her efforts were offset by a brutal display from Geitz.

Geitz was ferocious against a nervy-looking Mes, constantly in the hunt and nailing a game-high nine deflections against the flow of play, even taking out centre Laura Langman in the process.

Down the other end, West Coast Fever shooting partners Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst were near flawless despite a hustling Casey Kopua at keeper, with Bassett popping in an incredible 47 goals from 50 attempts.

Maria Tutaia tackles Julie Corletto

Maria Tutaia tackles Julie Corletto Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In the second half, the Silver Ferns found their rhythm, setting up a solid defensive zone and even engaging in some physical play of their own.

Wing attack Kim Green (32 feeds) was knocked about the most by Kayla Cullen, while Julie Corletto and Tutaia also hit the deck in a tangle.

Leana de Bruin was introduced in the second half, making her 100th international appearance for New Zealand and the defender helped the Silver Ferns outscore the Diamonds in the third (15-13) and fourth quarters (18-15).

The final three-goal deficit was the closest New Zealand got to Australia for most of the match.

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