Consolation Constellation win for Diamonds

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 24/09/2012
Cathrine Latu, Laura Langman and Casey Williams
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ

CUP RUNNETH OVER: Silver Ferns (from left) Cathrine Latu, Laura Langman and Casey Williams enjoy the spoils of the Constellation Cup series.

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Too many "dumb errors" cost the Silver Ferns any shot of a rare clean sweep and took a coat of gloss off their Constellation Cup win.

The Australian Diamonds beat the Silver Ferns 59-53 at Christchurch's CBS Canterbury Arena last night and Kiwi coach Waimarama Taumaunu said her side only had themselves to blame for the loss.

"I just think we made some very dumb errors and the Australians punished us," she said.

"We can't do that, it's no rocket science, it's that simple."

Taumaunu's side won the second match and the series last week on the back of only two strong quarters.

After leading by 12 in Auckland last Thursday, the Ferns won by just one.

"That was a game of two halves and I only liked one of them," she said at the time.

Last night was a big case of déjà vu.

For the first and fourth quarters, the Silver Ferns looked like world beaters, or World Champion beaters at least.

They won the first and fourth spells by five and six respectively and scored 38 goals.

The problem was quarters two and three. They weren't just bad, they were awful.

They threw the ball away, lacked any cohesion on attack and their defence was deflated rather than determined.

In quarters two and three, Australia scored 32 goals, the Silver Ferns just 15.

"You just can not give the ball to the Australians as easy as we did in those two quarters and expect not to get punished," Taumaunu said.

"I just think we made some poor decisions."A few choice words about what went wrong aside, Taumaunu was surprisngly largely positive about the match and series.  

Had the Constellation Cup not already been won, one gets the impression Taumaunu would have been far more upset and the aftermatch debrief much louder.

But she was pleased Jodi Brown, Kayla Cullen and Cathrine Latu had plenty of court time and went as far as saying she was impressed with Brown's performance despite the 31-year-old coughing up a whopping 11 turnovers.

The biggest mistake of the night according to Taumaunu, was one of her own.

Irene van Dyk was benched at three-quarter time and replaced by Cathrine Latu who landed all 13 of her attempts.

"I should have [put Cathrine Latu on the court] earlier, that would be my single biggest regret of the night," Taumaunu said.

"Tonight was always about getting people on the court and growing their experience and I should have had more faith."

Taumaunu denied the loss or the poor middle quarters took anything away from the series win, instead saying they showed the intensity of trans-Tasman netball.

She thought the Australians pounced far better on mistakes in last night's test and expected her side to learn plenty from that.

The positives of getting more top level experience for a number of players seemed to outweigh any disappointment of a test loss for Taumaunu.

And while that seems odd, the fact the Ferns were pushed for the first time in this series and lost by just six despite missing inspirational skipper Casey Williams and Maria Tutaia is surely in the back of Taumaunu's mind.

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Both are expected back when the Silver Ferns next play, in their Quad Series opener, against South Africa in Adelaide on October 14. 

RESULT

Australia 59 (15-17-15-12) New Zealand 53 (20-8-7-18)

SHOOTING

Australia: Caitlin Bassett 40/50 80%, Natalie Medhurst 19/20 95%
New Zealand: Irene van Dyk 19/21 90.48%, Jodi Brown 21/25 84%, Cathrine Latu 13/13 100%

- © Fairfax NZ News

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