'Our defence did get some really good ball' - Silver Ferns aim to perfect turnover game for Aussie rivals




It's time for the Silver Ferns to perfect the fine art of scoring from turnover ball, shooter Bailey Mes believes.

Te Paea Selby-Rickit of New Zealand defends against Beth Cobden of England. 2017 Netball Quad Series match, New Zealand Silver Ferns v England Roses at The Trusts Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. 30 August 2017 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

Te Paea Selby-Rickit of New Zealand defends against Beth Cobden of England.

Source: Photosport

She says it's vital the New Zealanders make the most of every opportunity against Australia on Sunday in their quad series finale in Invercargill.

The Diamonds are poised to retain their title after earlier recording wins over England and South Africa, while the Silver Ferns are coming off an upset 49-45 loss to the Roses in Auckland on Wednesday.

The Kiwis, like Australia, are in rebuild mode with their long-term focus centred on next yesr's Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the 2019 netball World Cup in Liverpool.

The Silver Ferns are missing midcourt lynchpin Laura Langman, unavailable after re-committing to another Australian Super Netball season with Noeline Taurua's Sunshine Coast Lightning.

And they'll again be without 108-Test veteran Maria Tutaia, who also missed the England game after being granted leave for a family bereavement.

MARIA TUTAIA,  International Netball Quad Series, New Zealand Silver Ferns v South Africa SPAR Proteas, Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia. 26 August 2017. Copyright photo: Richard Mamando / www.photosport.nz

Maria Tutaia lines up a shot against South Africa.

Source: Photosport

Mes says the loss to England - just New Zealand's fifth in 88 Tests - was a timely reminder of how important it is to protect, maintain and increase a lead.

"It's about how important it is to build on the leads that we get, scoring off our turnover ball, which definitely wasn't where it needed to be," she told NZ Newswire.

"That's probably something we'll want to tidy up, because our defence did get some really good ball."

While she acknowledges the Australians are lacking a little experience in their defensive circle, Mes doesn't feel that gives the Ferns too much of an advantage.

Between them, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Jo Weston and Emily Mannix boast just 20 caps for Australia but Mes says the new combinations aren't short on talent.

She expects the mobile, agile and energetic circle defenders will be looking to exploit her relatively new combination with goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

"We had some good time together last year, but again it's about building that connection and getting to know each other.

"I think we offer something different, but you've got to keep building on that every time you get out there."

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