Dominant Diamonds dazzle in first up win

AUSTRALIA has kicked off its Nations Cup campaign in a emphatic fashion, recording a 63 goal to 50 win over New Zealand in its opening match.

The win came off the back of a particularly strong performance from the Diamonds’ defence, which saw them run away with the match late.

The defensive pressure from both teams was particularly strong early, however it was the Silver Ferns who were able to capitalise off a rare Australian miss first to break the Diamonds’ centre pass and take the early lead. However, it was not long before the Australians did the exact same, levelling up the score and taking the lead back for themselves.

Courtney Bruce‘s intercept game was proving particularly dangerous for the Diamonds in defence, and the Australians cashed in, quickly doubling the Kiwi’s score.

New Zealand mustered somewhat of a fightback in the back end of the quarter, but remained five goals down at the first change.

Things continued to go goal for goal for much of the first part of the second quarter, but then the new rule interpretations really started to wreak havoc on the match.

As the quarter’s halfway point drew near, the Diamonds continued to extend their lead though as the Australian defence in particular continued to shine.

The margin got close to double digits but thanks to another late New Zealand fightback that was not reached.

The buffer was ultimately seven goals in the Diamonds’ favour at the main break, but it could have been even less if the passing from New Zealand had been less wayward.

It was the Silver Ferns who got the better start of the two teams to the second half, and it was not long before the margin was back down to three goals. Some Silver Ferns who had been quiet in the first half really got themselves into the game and they were threading through the Australian defence much better, and so the match was starting to turn into a true Trans-Tasman tussle.

Though as the quarter progressed the Silver Ferns just could not quite bridge the gap as the Australians held their nerve. New Zealand went on to win the quarter by two goals, but were still down by five at the final change.

The final quarter saw Australia truly re-establish a hold on the game the Diamonds had enjoyed earlier in the match. The passing from the Diamonds was a lot slicker than it was from the Silver Ferns, and Australia’s defence was once again on song and dominating.

This saw the margin quickly extend out to 10 goals and the Diamonds never really looked back after that, keeping their foot on the pedal to record the big win.

Bruce had a stellar performance at goal keeper for the Diamonds, finishing with three deflections, three gains, two intercepts and a rebound. Even though her shooting was a little down, Kiera Austin (two gains, one intercept, one deflection) also had a strong defensive game, while captain Liz Watson (44 feeds, 23 assists, two deflections, one gain) was one again a workhorse in mid court.

Meanwhile for New Zealand Karin Burger (three gains, two deflections, two intercepts) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (21 feeds, 14 assists) worked hard all game but just could not match it with the Australians.

AUSTRALIA                       14 | 15 | 15 | 19 (63)
NEW ZEALAND                 9 | 13 | 17 | 11 (50)



GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Keira Austin
WA: Liz Watson
C: Jamie-Lee Price
WD: Kate Moloney
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Courtney Bruce

New Zealand

GS: Grace Nweke
GA: Georgia Heffernan
WA: Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
C: Maddy Gordon
WD: Kate Heffernan
GD: Karin Burger
GK: Kelly Jury

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