Video: Maria Tutaia and Mystics teammates brighten Auckland kids' day giving away free bikes

The Mystics linked up with Variety children's charity in giving under-privileged children a free bike and lessons about safety. Source: 1 NEWS


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Australia vows to 'get in' Maria Folau's head after shooter leads Silver Ferns to much-needed victory

The Diamonds will aim to get inside the head of Maria Folau as they scramble for a way to stymie the superstar Silver Ferns shooter.

A Constellation Cup series that appeared destined for a second straight 4-0 Australian clean sweep is suddenly alive after New Zealand dominated the third Test in Hamilton.

New Zealand powered home for a 55-44 win over the Diamonds in Hamilton. Source: SKY

The drought-busting 55-44 win leaves Australia 2-1 up headed to the final Test in Wellington on Thursday, where they'll retain the silverware if they don't lose by 14 goals or more.

New Zealand's renaissance was built around staunch defence from player of the match Jane Watson at goal keep and the metronomic radar of Folau.

Revelling in her shift to goal shoot, the veteran landed 40 from 41 shots, forging a unique combination with Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who provided an effective screen but struggled with 15-from-22 accuracy.

The Silver Ferns shooter says there were multiple factors leading to her decision. Source: 1 NEWS

Australian skipper Caitlin Bassett and coach Lisa Alexander will plot how to counter a long-range attack that's rarely employed at Australian domestic level.

Eroding their shooting confidence would be a good start, Bassett said.

"Obviously both shooters were putting up some really nice long bombs so we'll have to find a way to get in their head a bit more on the shot."

Alexander is vowing there will be no repeat of the hefty penalty count against her team.

The Diamonds conceded 81 penalties to the hosts' 45, with goal keep Courtney Bruce pinged 20 times alone as she failed to adapt to umpire interpretations.

"It's been a very stark change coming over here," Alexander said.

"Forty more penalties is not acceptable so I'll have to have a conversation with the umpires about that."

Folau and Selby-Rickit have now played the last nine quarters of the series together - a stark contrast with Australia's heavy-rotation policy across all positions.

The changes appeared to count against them on Sunday but Bassett refused to blame that for their first setback since the Commonwealth Games final loss to England six months ago.

"Towards the end of this tournament we want to see what different girls can do and give them an opportunity to start," Bassett said.

"I think we need to be comfortable being uncomfortable at times.

"It's happened in the past that we've been able to get out of it but today just wasn't our day."

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Maria Folau of the Silver Ferns passes the ball during the Quad Series International Test match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena on September 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)
Maria Folau of the Silver Ferns passes the ball during the Quad Series International Test match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena in Melbourne. Source: Getty


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Watch: Silver Ferns end Australian hoodoo in style with thumping Constellation Cup win

New Zealand have prevailed 55-44 over Australia in the third Constellation Cup Test, ending their two-year losing streak in trans-Tasman netball.

The Silver Ferns pounced on an ill-disciplined performance from the Diamonds in Hamilton and lifted their own standards several notches as Noeline Taurua claimed her first major scalp as coach.

An Australian win would have been their 10th on the trot over New Zealand, matching their record streak set 20 years ago.

Instead, they steadily disintegrated as the Test wore on, losing all four quarters in a Test for the first time in eight years, including a 14-8 capitulation in the final stanza.

The lop-sided result also means Australia can't lock away the Constellation Cup yet either.

A 14-point win for New Zealand in the final Test in Wellington on Thursday would see the silverware cross the Tasman for the first time in six years.

Such a result is conceivable, just, after Taurua's team dominated all facets.

Led by unheralded goal keep Jane Watson, New Zealand shut down a disjointed Australian attack, which was changed throughout the Test with little effect.

Silver Ferns skipper Laura Langman was the best midcourter on show while veteran goal shooter Maria Folau calmly sank 40 of her 41 shots, mostly from long range.

The Australian defence had no solution, with goal keep Courtney Bruce penalised 20 times.

Her malaise reflected that of her team as Australia conceded 81 penalties to New Zealand's 45.

While Taurua fielded the same seven for the whole Test - as she did in this week's 56-47 loss in Townsville - Australian coach Lisa

Alexander rotated her players incessantly. Bruce was the only Diamond to play all four quarters.

Alexander surprised by starting second-choice shooters Caitlyn Thwaites and Gretel Tippett, along with debutant Jamie-Lee Price on debut at wing defence.

The daughter of former Kangaroos and Queensland rugby league great Steve Price, she claimed Australia's only four intercepts of the first half before she was replaced by Gabi Simpson.

Captain Caitlin Bassett played the two middle quarters but was off her game at goal shoot and replaced for the final stanza.

Alexander's experimentation over the final 15 minutes didn't work, with Tippett given a run at goal shoot and Price employed at centre.

A six-goal burst late in the first quarter put New Zealand 14-13 up and they stretched the scoreline to 30-26 and 41-36 at the next two breaks.

New Zealand powered home for a 55-44 win over the Diamonds in Hamilton. Source: SKY

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'We're ready to break through' - Silver Ferns target ending losing streak against Australia

The Silver Ferns are urging patience as they search for a drought ending victory over Australia, gearing up to face the Diamonds in Hamilton tomorrow.

Down 2-0 in the best of four match Constellation Cup, the Ferns head into tomorrow's clash looking to avoid their worst ever losing streak against Australia, having tasted their defeat in their last nine encounters with their trans-Tasman rivals.

Speaking to media in Hamilton today though, coach Noeline Taurua and captain Laura Langman insist that fans need to give the side time to match Australia's on-court success.

"Sometimes I think we are ready to break through," Taurua began.

"And then, little things that happen become very costly. Those little things - I think - are based around individual errors, and it's costing on the scoreboard at the end.

"What it is is what it is. We have to do some more work after Constellation Cup to make sure that standards are higher than what they are for individuals."

Langman also says that she feels that the side are close to that elusive win, although admits she's uncertain as to when it may come.

"How long is a piece of string," she joked.

"It's an uncontrollable, we've got to be patient.

"You've got to work through those frustrations, it's all resilience building for me."

The Ferns have gone nine straight matches without a win over the Diamonds. Source: 1 NEWS


'We have to keep getting better' - Aussies not allowing themselves to be content after big win over Silver Ferns

Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander won't let her side forget their Commonwealth Games heartbreak as Australia aims for a ninth-straight win against New Zealand tomorrow.

Australia are experiencing a rare period of dominance over their traditional netball rivals and will enter Townsville's Constellation Cup fixture as short as $1.10 favourites with some bookies to extend that winning streak.

But the wounds have barely healed since England's shock 52-51 defeat of the Diamonds in April to claim Commonwealth gold and Alexander says the bitter taste of that loss would be enough to stave off any complacency.

"What we've tried to engender in this group is a growth and learning mindset," she said.

"We're never where we want to be, we know we have to keep getting better.

"If we don't, and stand still, the other teams are going to catch us up which we saw in that Commonwealth Games gold medal final when England beat us by one on that buzzer."

Australia are 4-0 in Tests since then, including an emotional 52-47 defeat of England and a 57-42 win against the Silver Ferns in Brisbane on Sunday.

The Diamonds are wary of what's to come though under new coach Noelene Taurua and comeback captain Laura Langman.

The pair combined with Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett to win the inaugural Super Netball title with the Sunshine Coast.

Langman didn't play last season but was voted in as captain on her return to international netball following the Commonwealth Games.

She will surpass Irene van Dyk as New Zealand's most-capped netballer when she earns her 146th start in Townsville.

"Playing 145 Tests for your country is incredible ... I love her to bits but don't want it to be a successful game for her," Bassett said.
"We'll be working hard to shut her down."

Alexander said there were plenty of sore bodies but no injury concerns after a "pretty brutal" Brisbane encounter.

The four-Test series will be completed in New Zealand with games in Hamilton on October 14 and Wellington on October 18.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Maria Folau of the Silver Ferns passes the ball during the Quad Series International Test match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena on September 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)
Maria Folau of the Silver Ferns passes the ball during the Quad Series International Test match between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns at Hisense Arena in Melbourne. Source: Getty


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