Australia 50 bt New Zealand 49
Diamonds vs Silver Ferns
Crowds go wild as the Diamonds win the constellation cup over the Silver Ferns. Photo: Jay Cronan
- Recap: How the match unfolded
- Canberra's excited fans raise the AIS roof for netball Diamonds
- Geitz brings 'whole package' to captaincy role
- 'Spiritual home' in line to host internationals on regular basis
The Australian Diamonds are adamant they’re yet to hit peak form, coach Lisa Alexander declaring they need to get rid of the "brain-snap errors" to win Commonwealth Games gold next year.
The Diamonds completed a spectacular 4-1 series rout against New Zealand in Canberra on Sunday, fighting their way to a thrilling 50-49 win in the dying seconds.
It was Australia’s fourth consecutive win against the Silver Ferns and the first time in 15 years they’d achieved four wins in a row against their trans-Tasman rivals.
But Alexander fired a warning shot to her players after the thrilling triumph and said it was a "timely reminder" to the Diamonds’ ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
"We still haven’t put our best performance yet and that’s a good thing for us because we know we’re not there. We’re trying to make sure that happens in a gold-medal final in Glasgow," Alexander said.
"We have to stop throwing away silly ball, there are far too many brain-snap errors.
"We’ve got enormous confidence, but we also got a timely reminder we’re not there yet and we’ve got a lot of work to do."
The Diamonds tinkered with their line-up knowing they held an unbeatable 3-1 series lead going into the first ever trans-Tasman netball clash in Canberra.
Rookie Caitlyn Thwaites got her chance to start as goal shooter and despite some early teething problems, she was solid in attack and took her opportunities.
Alexander swapped back to regular shooting star Caitlin Bassett after half-time, but the match continued to see-saw.
The Silver Ferns got out to a four goal lead with seven minutes left in the match, but the Diamonds sparked into action with Bassett and Erin Bell taking control.
The Diamonds clawed their way back to level the score in the last 90 seconds.
Then a flurry of turnovers from both teams kept the crowd on edge before they erupted when Bassett nailed a goal with 14 seconds remaining to clinch a one-goal victory.
The Diamonds scored seven of the last 10 goals to beat their arch rivals.
"For us to win that game by one goal, it gives us such confidence that even when we’re tired on the last day of competition, we can come through with the goods," Diamonds captain Laura Geitz said.
"Erin Bell … sinking that long bomb [in the last quarter] you could tell it just lifted the team and it was the turning moment out there.
"This team is capable of doing exciting things and that’s what I’m looking forward to."
There was a bash and crash contest in New Zealand’s attacking circle.
The Silver Ferns have been fuming at Australia’s physical defence in the series and there were massive crashes again when Geitz hit the floor in the opening minutes.
At one point New Zealand skipper Casey Kopua jeered Geitz for her "Hollywood" dive after taking a hit in the circle.
Star New Zealand goal attack Maria Tutaia won player of the match but said she left Canberra with mixed emotions.
"We can take a lot of highs and lows from this game but a loss is never a good feeling," Tutaia said.
"We just have to deal with [Australia’s physical defence], we’re very well known for playing very skillful netball with the Silver Ferns. In great patches of play, we did that."
Kopua said the team would use the series defeat as motivation to chase a third consecutive gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.
"We won’t be happy with that, the girls will go back and work even harder. Losing to Australia plays with your emotions and you never, ever want that feeling again," Kopua said.
The Diamonds will finish their international season with two Tests against Malawi next week in Wollongong and Gold Coast.
AT A GLANCE
AUSTRALIA 50 (Caitlin Bassett 20/25, Caitlyn Thwaites 17/19, Natalie Medhurst 10/13, Erin Bell 3/3) bt NEW ZEALAND 49 (Catherine Latu 25/27, Maria Tutaia 24/33) at AIS Arena. Crowd: 4000.