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Silver Ferns' loss to Diamonds sees Australia retain Constellation Cup

Australia have won netball's Constellation Cup for a seventh straight time after overcoming a frenetic New Zealand comeback to post a 53-46 win in game four in Perth.

The Diamonds blitzed the Silver Ferns with a 16-7 opening-quarter onslaught at RAC Arena on Sunday, and led by as much as 16 goals during the second term as their suffocating pressure proved too much to handle.

But with star shooter Maria Folau nailing almost everything that came her way, the Silver Ferns reduced the margin to seven goals in the third quarter, and then just four goals with seven minutes remaining.

The Diamonds kept their cool at the death to secure the win and level the series at 2-2, claiming the Constellation Cup on superior goal percentage.

Star goal shooter Caitlin Bassett nailed 25 of her 28 goal attempts to ensure she celebrated her 100-game milestone with a win in front of 13,233 fans - a new netball record crowd for Perth.

The win was also the perfect send-off for retiring shooter Caitlin Thwaites, who replaced Bassett in the third quarter to finish with six goals.

The victory was sweet revenge for Australia, who lost the World Cup final to New Zealand by a goal in July, and also twice lost to the Silver Ferns during the current series by a goal.

Both teams headed to Perth with plenty to play for, but the Silver Ferns barely fired a shot in the opening half.

Bassett and Gretel Tippett (22 goals from 23 attempts) combined brilliantly in the shooting circle to put NZ on the back foot.

But it was unforced errors and ill discipline that cost the Silver Ferns the most.

The contest seemed over late in the second term as Australia's lead ballooned to 31-15.

Folau, playing her 150th Test, was trying her best to keep her side in the match with a series of long bombs.

But with Courtney Bruce wearing her like a glove and the supply scarce, Folau was starved of opportunities.

Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman had six turnovers in an error-riddle first half, with her team committing 25 in total compared to Australia's 16.

Maria Folau (file picture). Source: Photosport


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