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Silver Ferns maintain dominance over Australia

Silver Ferns maintain dominance over Australia

The Silver Ferns continued their recent dominance over Australia with a 52-40 win in the first New Zealand versus Australia netball test in Brisbane tonight.

In the first netball test in Brisbane for 25 years, Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken celebrated her 50th match in charge by guiding the New Zealanders to a compelling win, where they enjoyed greater possession and dominated all aspects of the statistics sheet.

The surprise choices of the teenaged Maria Tutaia, in her first match against Australia, and defender Leana de Bruin proved inspiring selections by coach Ruth Aitken in the Silver Ferns starting line-up.

Both played pivotal roles at their respective ends of the court, Tutaia’s pinpoint shooting, many from long range, and height proved the perfect foil for her shooting partner Irene van Dyk. With Tutaia, 19, making such a strong impression in a near-faultless performance, much of the pressure was taken off the usually heavily marked van Dyk.

At the defence end of the court, de Bruin left her mark on an inspiring first half with her height, long reach and solid marking proving a thorn in Australia’s side. Goalkeeper Vilimaina Davu was at her imposing best with a host of intercepts and rebound ball, the pair working in tandem to form a formidable in-circle defensive partnership.

Bolstered by the return of season campaigner Liz Ellis and wing defence Mo’onia Gerrard from injury, Australia were bolstered to a full strength line-up as the teams matched each other goal-for-goal in the opening minutes.

That did not last long as Tutaia and van Dyk’s accuracy kept the Silver Ferns on track while Australia dropped off through a combination of missed shots and errors on attack.

After trailing 16-11 at the first break, Australia were forced into their first change with Laura von Bertouch introduced to the game to join her sister Natalie von Bertouch in the home team’s attacking line.

Shooter Susan Pratley also found her way onto the court before halftime as Australia struggled under the hoop. But Australia found no answer to the rampant Silver Ferns during this quarter where the visitors dominated both ends of the court.

As a hint of desperation crept into Australia’s play, the Silver Ferns marched on in clinical fashion and a 15-6 advantage to take a commanding 31-17 lead into halftime.

The introduction of 10-year veteran Belinda Colling at goal attack and Anna Scarlett in the defence circle at halftime changed the impetus heading into the third quarter with the New Zealanders slow to adapt to the changes. It gave Australia the opportunity to chip away at New Zealand’s lead and set about igniting a mini comeback.

The Silver Ferns lost their flow in the third quarter while Australia regained their poise to mount a second half charge and in the process scoring the last five goals of the quarter to win it 13-8 and head into the last break nine goals adrift at 39-30.

Normal service was resumed in the last quarter as Temepara George, Adine Wilson and Laura Langman shut down Australia’s midcourt flow to return the Silver Ferns to a position of dominance.

``There were certainly some fantastic parts for us but then Australia came back as we knew they would but I thought the composure at the end was great,’’ Aitken said afterwards.

``Leana has been playing really well this week and I thought she did a fine job out there tonight and Maria was fantastic. She still needs to go into the ball a bit harder but that composure on her shot and those long shots was just stunning.’’

The teams meet again in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Shooting Statistics:
Silver Ferns:
Irene van Dyk 32/34 (94%)
Maria Tutaia 13/16 (81%)
Belinda Colling 7/11 (64%)

Australia:
Sharelle McMahon 20/26 (77%)
Susan Pratley 13/18 (72%)
Catherine Cox 7/9 (78%)

Player of the match: Adine Wilson

NZU21 v Australia U21 Result
First Quarter NZU21 6 - 16 Aus U21
Second Quarter NZU21 16 - 25 Aus U21
Third Quarter NZU21 22 - 33 Aus U21
Final Score 28 - 47 Aus U21

Shooting Statistics:
NZU21:
Paula Griffin16/21 (76%)
Jess Tuki 7/17 (41%)
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit 5/7 (71%)

Australian U21:
Caitlin Bassett 20/27 (74%)
Caitlin Thwaites 12/16 (75%)
Kate Beveridge 10/13 (77%)
Nikala Smith 5/8 (63%)

Ends

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