By Rona Hunnisett
However, England, currently ranked fourth, will take heart from their performance, which saw them lead 12-9 at quarter time and level 22 all at half time, against their highly rated opponents. And, with the World Championships in New Zealand less than six months away, England's preparations look to be moving in the right direction, after their defeat of World Champions New Zealand in Manchester last Sunday.
England came out strongly from the first whistle, with Cookey and Brownfield maintaining the form of Sunday's win in the shooting circle. Jade Clarke was once again England's lynchpin in centre court, but with Australia's Gilsenan and the von Bertouch sisters settling into their pacy attacking movements, England's first quarter lead (12-9) was wiped out by the half time break.
The third quarter was all about Australia, with Aussie GA and vice captain Sharelle McMahon and GS Catherine Cox frequently leaving the English defence chasing skirts with their speedy interplay round the goal. Australia led 35-29 at three quarter time, and despite a spirited English
fightback in the final quarter, the opportunity for a second famous victory in a week for the English team was gone.
Earlier in the evening, England A posed several questions of World Champions New Zealand, before the Silver Ferns eventually edged through for a 66-42 win.
Australia takes the Pukka Pies International Tri Series trophy, with England second and New Zealand third.
Starting line ups
England: GS Brownfield, GA Cookey, WA Atkinson, C Clarke, WD Newton, GD Mkoloma, GK Mentor
Changes: 3rd Q: GA Greenway (injury replacement for Cookey)
Australia: GS Cox, GA McMahon, WA L von Bertouch, C N von Bertouch, WD Gilsenan, GD Gerrard, GK Ellis
Brownfield 24/31, Cookey 16/18
Cox 24/33, McMahon 23/25