The Australian Diamonds have recorded their highest ever score against the New Zealand Silver Ferns with a 68-48 victory at Allphones Arena in Sydney on Sunday.
The Diamonds remain undefeated after three Tests in the 2012 Holden Netball Quad-Series with the 20-goal win - Australia’s largest victory over the Silver Ferns since 20 June 2000, in front of 13,640 fans.
The Diamonds made two changes to the line up that started against South Africa on Wednesday in Newcastle with Bianca Chatfield returning to the seven at goal keeper while Madison Browne got the nod at wing attack.
Australia outscored New Zealand 12 goals to three mid-way through the first quarter which saw them race out to a 19-9 lead at quarter-time, the first time they’ve led at the quarter-time break against the Silver Ferns under coach Lisa Alexander’s tenure.
The hosts couldn’t have dreamt a better start with Chatfield and Rebecca Bulley dominating the defensive circle against Catherine Latu, who got the start alongside Maria Tutaia, with five interceptions interrupting the Silver Ferns in attack.
The news wasn’t all good for the Diamonds with captain Natalie von Bertouch assisted from the court with a rolled left ankle with two minutes left in the first quarter. Kimberlee Green was brought off the bench to centre. The extent of von Bertouch’s injury won’t be determined until tomorrow following scans.
The Silver Ferns made two changes at quarter-time with Casey Williams introduced for Leana de Bruin at goal defence to shut down Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley, who were 19 from 20 attempts at the first 15 minutes, while Latu made way for Irene van Dyk.
The Diamonds brought up their 5000th goal against New Zealand in the second quarter as the Australians pulled a further two goals ahead as the physicality increased in the home side’s attacking circle to lead 35-23 at half-time.
Despite a flawless second half from Silver Ferns Irene van Dyk, with 12 from 12 and 10 from 10 in the third and fourth quarters respectively, and five deflections in defence from Casey Williams, the visitors battled to get back into the game.
Leading by 14 goals heading into the fourth quarter, Cox made way for Bassett at goal shooter while Renae Hallinan was introduced at centre for Kim Green and Mo’onia Gerrard took on the wing defence responsibilities.
Despite the changes, the Diamonds were seamless and confident in attack as they continued to apply the pressure across the court to win by 20 goals and eclipse the previous highest score, set in 1992, by one goal.
Madison Browne was named MVP.
photos Janos Schmidt