NZ Silver Ferns/Aotearoa Men’s Cadbury Netball Series: Match 3 wrap

THE third match of the Cadbury Netball Series between New Zealand Silver Ferns and Aotearoa Men’s had a little bit of everything, as the Men’s team put a stop to the Ferns’ dominance to ensure they did not sweep the series, and showcased their impressive development over the past three days to come away with a huge four-goal victory (57-53). While the Ferns still won the series 2-1, the Men’s took the lead in the Cadbury Netball Series’ all-time tally to 4-3, with the dead rubber match offering a chance to break the 3-3 streak.

READ>>> NZ Silver Ferns/Aotearoa Men’s Cadbury Netball Series: Match 1 wrap | Match 2 wrap

A big opening quarter set the tone early, with Victor Godsmark-White firing from the get-go and relentless in his pursuit for turnover ball. With forced misses on both goalers in Maia Wilson and Jay Geldard in the opening minute, it appeared that defence would play a huge role in this clash as the pressure over Tiana Metuarau‘s shot proved to be the kicker once more. The Men’s were up and about early despite some fresh faces and legs amongst the playing group, and looked confident as they surpassed the Ferns’ midcourt structures to find Geldard’s waiting hands under the post. The injection of Ben Smith in goal attack may not have seemed ideal heading into the clash with no prior court-time, but instead it proved influential as he partnered with Eriata Vercoe to wreak havoc. Vercoe in particular took it upon himself to perform after playing just the one quarter in the second match, picking up two early intercepts to send the Men’s team back down to the goal circle and winning the early battle against first time starter Kate Heffernan. The Men’s took a three-goal lead into the first change.

Where the Ferns’ patience in the first quarter had ended up looking like hesitance, they started the second well with Gina Crampton getting her eye in and combining better with Metuarau to open up Wilson at the post. However, the defensive combination of Godsmark-White and Michael Clarke was relentless, giving up no easy ball into the goal circle as inaccuracy crept into the Ferns goal circle. Despite missing both his attempts for the quarter, at the other end Smith provided a crafty option in attack to what fans saw in the opening matches, keeping Karin Burger busy with his dashing and darting around the circle and not allowing the increasingly frustrated combination of Burger and Kelly Jury to have an impact on the play. A six-minute purple patch from the Men’s saw them dominate the scoring as they piled on the defensive pressure and Nick Grimmer combined seamlessly with Vercoe and Cameron van Baarle through the midcourt, before Wilson stepped up to the plate to shoot the last four goals of the term and go into halftime with a slightly more respectable four-goal margin.

The Ferns made the front-end change after half-time, swapping out Wilson for Grace Nweke as the Men’s adjusted their lineup too, swinging Dallas Harema – who had finished the first half in centre for a brief minute as Grimmer was sent off with the blood rule – to wing defence as Jaryn Tainui headed into goal defence. A relatively even start to the term was broken up with a couple of runs from the Men’s, able to add to their tally as the Ferns struggled to created turnover ball off the Men’s centre. With no gains or deflections to her name for the first half, Burger stepped up as Jury worked in overdrive to limit Geldard’s positioning, however the real trouble appeared to be brewing at the other end with Nweke providing an excellent target, but little confidence from the feeders who hesitated on the pass too frequently. With Grimmer running well with Maddy Gordon and not allowing her to have the same impact as the second clash, the Ferns rung in the changes midways through the term with Heffernan returning to wing defence as her replacement in Claire Kersten moved up the court to centre and impact player Shannon Saunders entered the fray. With the physical nature of the goal circle making it hard for Nweke to have an impact and Metuarau in her head following a couple of blocked shots off the hand of Godsmark-White, changes aplenty were made for the Ferns as the Men’s got out to a huge eight-goal lead at the final change.

A huge final quarter proved the game is not over until it’s over, with the Men’s getting off to another great start and brimming with confidence after a 7-0 start to the term, before the Ferns fought back with eight straight to take the early 15-goal margin back to just seven. While the Ferns continued to lay on the pressure and brimmed with confidence after their spirited comeback, the Men’s team was still firing defensively despite looking fatigued in attack. While Jury and Burger had been quiet for much of the match, the duo seemed to click as the minutes whittled down, making the most of the Men’s lacklustre movement as Metuarau and Nweke finished out the match strongly at the other end as the Ferns went down 53-57.

Godsmark-White left his best until last, picking up the Player of the Match award for his impressive six gains (one intercept, two deflections, two rebounds and a pickup), while Clarke (three gains, two pickups, four penalties) and Vercoe (two intercepts, 19 goal assists) also had big moments. Smith impressed in goal attack, registering 24 assists to go with his six goals from nine attempts, while Geldard was strong as ever at the post finishing with 51 goals from 53 attempts at 96 per cent accuracy. For the Ferns, two gains apiece from Jury and Burger in the final quarter took their combined tally to nine for the match, while Metuarau added two gains to her name to go with her 17 goals at 74 per cent and led the goal assists with 16. Despite only playing the first half, Wilson topped the goals tally for the Ferns with 20 from 27 attempts as Nweke finished with 16 from 20, three rebounds and no general play turnovers in a class outing for the youngster.

NZ SILVER FERNS | 14 | 13 | 11 | 15 (53)
AOTEAROA MEN’S | 17 | 14 | 15 | 11 (57)

Match MVP: Victor Godsmark-White (Aotearoa Men’s)


Silver Ferns

GS: Maia Wilson
GA: Tiana Metuarau
WA: Gina Crampton
C: Maddy Gordon
WD: Kate Heffernan
GD: Karin Burger
GK: Kelly Jury

Aotearoa Men’s

GS: Jay Geldard
GA: Ben Smith
WA: Eriata Vercoe
C: Nick Grimmer
WD: Cameron van Baarle
GD: Michael Clarke
GK: Victor Godsmark-White

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