The Australian Diamonds have retained the Constellation Cup by taking an unassailable 3-nil lead over the New Zealand Silver Ferns, after posting a 47-34 victory at Sydney’s Allphones Arena on Saturday 11 October.
With one Test to play – next Wednesday 15 October at The Trusts Arena in Auckland – the result will matter little with the Diamonds having wrapped up the series on home soil. It is the fourth time the Aussies have won the trans-Tasman series, which began in 2010; the Kiwis have held the trophy just once in 2012.
After an even start to the match it was the Aussies who once again hit the front first. While their opposition got out to a handy 4-1 lead, the Silver Ferns weren’t to be over-awed and soon got back into the contest. However two goals would be as close as the Diamonds would let them, who doubled their opposition’s score by the first break.
The Silver Ferns weren’t to be disheartened by the deficit, starting the second quarter strongly. Led by the Silver Ferns defence, Casey Kopua and Katrina Grant, the Kiwis worked hard to close the gap even further.
But the Diamonds defence were just as equally up to the challenge; circle defenders Laura Geitz and NSW Swift 2015 recruit Julie Corletto working the shooters around while Kim Ravaillion and Renae Hallinan put pressure on the pass.
In the end errors in the Silver Ferns attacking end proved costly as the Diamonds slowly began to pull away, taking a 10-goal lead at half-time.
Both sides made changes to the shooting circles for the start of the second half; Tegan Caldwell came on for the Diamonds, while experienced shooter Jodi Brown came on for the Silver Ferns. It was the latter who made an impact early, nailing her first four attempts. However it did little to pull back the deficit with the Diamonds on-song, maintaining an 11-goal buffer heading into the final 15 minutes.
The Diamonds used the final break to make further changes to their side, bringing back on Nat Medhurst to GA, while NSW Swifts Sharni Layton made her first appearance for the match at WD. Bailey Mes was the only change for the Silver Ferns until an injury timeout saw experienced defender Leana de Bruin given the GK bib.
However the change did little to change the passage of play, with the Diamonds going on to post a 14-goal victory to claim the 2014 Constellation Cup.
Real Insurance MVP: Laura Geitz
Official Crowd Figure: 10,379
DIAMONDS│ Q1: 14 – Q2: 24 (10) – Q3: 35 (11) – Q4: 47 (12)
SILVER FERNS│ Q1: 7 – Q2: 14 (7) – Q3: 24 (10) – Q4: 34 (10)
DIAMONDS: 47/53 @ 89%
Caitlin Bassett: 32/37 @ 86%
Nat Medhurst: 10/10 @ 100%
Tegan Caldwell: 5/6 @ 83%
SILVER FERNS: 34/43 @ 79%
Cathrine Latu: 14/14 @ 100%
Ameliaranne Wells: 7/8 @ 87.5%
Jodi Brown: 8/12 @ 67%
Bailey Mes: 5/9 @ 56%
DIAMONDS│ GS Caitlin Bassett, GA Nat Medhurst, WA Madi Robinson, C Kim Ravaillion, WD Renae Hallinan, GD Julie Corletto, GK Laura Geitz (c)
SILVER FERNS│ GS Cathrine Latu, GA Ameliaranne Wells, WA Liana Letoa, C Laura Langman, WD Joline Henry, GD Katrina Grant, GK Casey Kopua (c)
DIAMONDS│ Q3 – GA Tegan Caldwell; Q4 – GA Medhurst, WD Sharni Layton.
SILVER FERNS│ Q2 – WA Grace Rasmussen; Q3 – GA Jodi Brown; Q4 – GS Bailey Mes; Q4 Timeout – GK Leana de Bruin.