Australia expect Silver Ferns to fire back in Constellation decider

October 22, 2022
Whitney Souness of the Silver Ferns in action against Australia in the third Test of the Constellation Cup.

Stacey Marinkovich is expecting Kiwi master coach Noeline Taurua to have her troops ready to return fire at the Diamonds with the Constellation Cup netball series on the line.

After two losses in New Zealand, Marinkovich's side ambushed the Silver Ferns in Melbourne midweek, upping the physicality to surge to a 62-47 victory.

The win was so emphatic the Diamonds pulled ahead on aggregate in the series, now leading 158 points to New Zealand's 155.

That means whoever takes out the fourth and final game at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Sunday night will collect the trophy; Australia through an aggregate win, or the Silver Ferns with a 3-1 series score line.

Marinkovich switched up her line-up in Melbourne, with Sophie Garbin dominating as a holding shooter, while she recalled veteran goal defence Jo Weston - originally rested for the series - who unsettled the Kiwis with her close marking.

New Zealand had no answer for the speed and accuracy of the Australian midcourt, led by wing attack and skipper Liz Watson.

But the Diamonds coach said Taurua, who has been involved with the Silver Ferns for more than a decade and head coach since 2018, was sure to have a fresh plan for Sunday.

"Noeline is a very astute coach and will certainly be able to dissect and give her players great instruction," Marinkovich told reporters.

"They'll continue to back their way of playing there's no doubt, but they'll tidy up their structures in some part.

"They also understand what we're now bringing, so it'll be the true rivalry - we've now really got a taste of what the strengths of each side are."

Despite the dominance of the performance and the Cup on the line Marinkovich may again bring in new personnel, saying she still wants to see what other squad members can deliver ahead of next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Taurua also made changes to her line-up in Melbourne, with New Zealand leaving wing attack Peta Toeava - a standout in the opening two Tests - at home.

"I certainly think their mid-court will grow from that experience," Marinkovich said.

"They brought in two new players that haven't played us, so they learned. Even when you saw (wing attack) Maddy Gordon go off and then she came back on that release improved."

Taurua took note of Australia's dramatic improvement between games two and three and said her team were up for the challenge.

"The first thing is all we need is a win so we've got to keep it in context," Taurua said.

"We've got a lot of things to work on. The turnaround from what Aussie did after the second game is massive."

"There's quite a few things we can do without pulling ourselves apart."

"We've got to go back to the things we do well."


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