Relentless Australian Diamonds hold off late Silver Ferns comeback to win first Constellation Cup Test

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The Australian Diamonds have held off a tenacious comeback by the Silver Ferns to win 57-54 in the first Constellation Test at Spark Arena in Auckland tonight.

FULLTIME: NZL 54 AUS 57

57 mins: NZL 52 AUS 53

Coming down to the wire and the crowd are really getting into it now. New Zealand trail by just one-point with only three minutes remaining.

54 mins: NZL 49 AUS 51

MISTAKE! Maria Tutaia throws a poor looping pass with the Diamonds making an easy read - the Ferns on the back foot with six minutes remaining.

50 mins: NZL 45 AUS 48

Maria Tutaia of New Zealand competes against April Brandley of Australia. 2017 Constellation Cup match, New Zealand Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds at Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. 5 October 2017 © Copyright Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / www.photosport.nz

Maria Tutaia of New Zealand competes against April Brandley of Australia.

Source: Photosport

Oh no! Umpires rule Bailey Mes was stepping in the shooting circle and the Ferns hand the ball back over to the visitors.

47 mins: NZL 42 AUS 43

MISTAKE! Caitlin Bassett throws a poor pass and NZ come up with the ball, Maria Tutaia sinks another long range shot at goal. NZ claw their way back and Australia hold a one-point lead.

46 mins: NZL 38 AUS 42

Another botched start from the Silver Ferns as they hand the ball straight back into the hands of the Diamonds.

45 mins: NZL 38 AUS 42

A messy quarter from both side's as Australia keep their four-point advantage over New Zealand. The visitors have been relentless on both attack and defence forcing the Ferns to work for every single goal.

NZ still in touch with one quarter remaining.

42 mins: NZL 36 AUS 40

Temalisi Fakahokotau again comes up with a clever turnover as the Ferns close the gap to just four-points. 

40 mins: NZL 33 AUS 38

Australia extend their lead out to five-points.

39 mins: NZL 32 AUS 35

Great work from Katrina Grant and Temalisi Fakahokotau for the Ferns on defence, as they get an important rebound after Caitlin Bassett misses a shot at goal for Australia.

36 mins: NZL 29 AUS 33

Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes starting to find their groove as they pull back the deficit to just four points. The Silver Ferns still playing catch up in the third quarter.

34 mins: NZL 27 AUS 33

TURNOVER! Australia pounce on another mistake by the Ferns and Caitlin Bassett makes the home team pay with another successful shot at goal for Australia.

31 mins: NZL 25 AUS 29

We are back underway with Australia with the centre pass. 

HALFTIME: NZL 25 AUS 29

Temalisi Fakahokotau has been instrumental for the Silver Ferns with her input in the second quarter coming up with two turnovers as the Diamonds go into halftime with a four-point lead.

28 mins: NZL 24 AUS 29

Bailey Mes makes a crucial turnover and keeps her 100 per cent shooting percentage intact. The new defender for the Ferns Temalisi Fakahokotau gets an important rebound for NZ.

27 mins: NZL 22 AUS 27

Temalisi Fakahokotau and Kayla Cullen enter the game for the Silver Ferns.

23 mins: NZL 19 AUS 26

Mistake by the Diamonds in the shooting circle and the Silver Ferns get a much needed turnover, Maria Tutaia converts down the other end. But again a poor looping pass is easily read by the Diamonds and they pounce on it.

20 mins: NZL 18 AUS 24

Great work by Kelly Jury in the defensive circle as she earns a rebound for New Zealand, but her hard work is wasted as the NZ side give the ball straight back to Australia. NZ in real trouble now as the visitors extend their lead by six.

17 mins: NZL 16 AUS 20

Maria Tutaia sinks another long range shot, a poor pass from Tutaia leads to another turnover but NZ react quickly to get the ball back off the Diamonds.

15 mins: NZL 13 AUS 17

Australia end the first quarter with a four-point lead, some poor passing and use of the ball by the Silver Ferns in the first quarter. But they are still in the fight with Katrina Grant and Kelly Jury looking staunch on defence for NZ giving the Aussie shooters a hard time.

14 mins: NZL 13 AUS 15

A chance here for the Silver Ferns as the Diamonds throw a loose pass, the Silver Ferns convert down the other end.

12 mins: NZL 11 AUS 15

Just as it looked like the Ferns were finding some momentum on attack the Australian defenders come up with a great turnover to punish the NZ side.

10 mins: NZL 9 AUS 11

Silver Ferns are on the back foot, giving away the ball with some rushed passes. But they get a turnover late in the game and they close the gap.

8 mins: NZL 6 AUS 9

Australia putting the pressure on the home side as they struggle to get the ball into the shooting circle. Another mistake from the Silver Ferns and the visitors push out their lead to three points.

5 mins: NZL 5 AUS 5

A mistake from NZ as they lose possession of the ball and Australia get a turnover.

2 mins: NZL 2 AUS 2

A close and even contest so far, Maria Tutaia nails a classy long range shot.

0 mins: NZL 0 AUS 0

New Zealand with the centre pass to get the game underway.

PRE-MATCH:

The last time the Silver Ferns faced the Australian side the New Zealand team came out on top, thumping Australia 57-47 in Invercargill last month to claim the Quad Series title for the first time.

The Silver Ferns are most likely to stick with Maria Tutaia and Bailey Mes in the shooting circle, but don't be surprised if Te Paea Selby-Rickit makes an appearance late in the game.

Katrina Grant and Kelly Jury have been named to start at GD and GK.

Jury, 20, was instrumental in shutting down Australia's Caitlin Bassett in Invercargill with her 192cm frame causing trouble for the Diamonds.   

TEAMS:

Silver Ferns: Katrina Grant (c), Maria Tutaia (vc), Gina Crampton, Kayla Cullen, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Shannon Francois, Kelly Jury, Bailey Mes, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Samantha Sinclair, Whitney Souness, Maia Wilson.

Australian Diamonds: Caitlin Bassett, April Brandley, Courtney Bruce, Emily Mannix, Caitlyn Nevins, Susan Pettitt, Kim Ravaillion, Gabi Simpson, Caitlin Thwaites, Liz Watson, Jo Weston, Stephanie Wood.

0mins: NZL 0 AUS 0
20 mins: NZL 18 AUS 24
HALFTIME: NZL 25 AUS 29

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