9 Oct 2017

Diamonds in box seat to defend Constellation Cup

7:29 am on 9 October 2017

The Australian Diamonds are now in the box seat to defend netball's Constellation Cup after beating the Silver Ferns 60-52 in Christchurch.

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Katrina Grant of the Silver Ferns blocks a pass to Stephanie Wodd of the Diamonds. Photo: Photosport

It was a game in which the Ferns repeated many of the same mistakes they made in game one.

Janine Southby started with Maria Tutaia at goal shoot, and Bailey Mes at goal attack.

The Silver Ferns started the game strongly, leading by four at one point but the Diamonds clawed their way back.

The visitors scored the last five goals of the quarter, leading 14-11 at the first break.

The Diamonds started the second quarter as they finished the first and led by as many as six goals at one point.

The Silver Ferns' attacking end experienced similar problems to the ones they had in the opening game of the series.

Too many passes went into the hands of the opposition, with Tutaia the main offender, committing about five bad passes.

She wasn't helped by the lack of options from her feeders, with Shannon Francois going missing in the mid-court at times.

The Silver Ferns fought back at the same time as the introduction of Te Paea Selby-Rickit at goal shoot, with Tutaia moving to goal attack.

But the Ferns couldn't seem to breach the Diamonds' three-goal buffer and the visitors ended the first half leading 29-26.

Steph Wood replaced Susan Pettitt at goal attack for Australia in the second half. Both players were effective and New Zealand skipper Katrina Grant struggled to contain either.

Kayla Cullen replaced Sinclair at half-time in wing defence, while Temalisi Fakahokotau was given the goal keep bib.

The Diamonds pulled away by as much as eight in the third quarter. Sinclair came on for Francois at centre in the later stages of the spell.

The Ferns pegged back a couple of goals but the Diamonds led by five (44-39) going into the final break.

Francois returned to court for the final period, and Sinclair went back to wing defence.

The Australians were in full control in the home straight and Caitlin Bassett put the icing on the cake with the final goal.

Bassett finished with 40/44 at 91 percent. Tutaia was accurate too, scoring 26/29 at 90 percent.

The series now heads to Australia and it will be a big ask for the Silver Ferns to wrest the Cup from their arch-rivals, now up 2-0 in the series.

Jane Watson on debut.

Jane Watson. Photo: Photosport

Meanwhile the Silver Ferns have called in defender Jane Watson for the Australian leg of netball's Constellation Cup.

Watson repaces midcourter Whitney Souness who will remain in New Zealand for family reasons.

The third test in Adelaide on Wednesday night and the fourth test in Brisbane on Saturday.

Look back over the match here:

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