Netball News, 2021 Constellation Cup Game 4: Ferns v Diamonds Debrief

Stage 1 sees Australia out in front ahead of the Silver Ferns. With both teams each made some mistakes on occasions up front. Though the defensive ends have put a shift each time the Ferns & Diamonds win turnovers. But it is Australia who capitalized the early lead 12-6 after 15 minutes.

The Ferns began to make up lost time with a couple of points on the board. As they still keep an eye on the scoreboard in every chance possible to win. While the Aussie Diamonds kept distancing themselves way from Silver Ferns for the lead. Away team doing everything possible to build a big lead ahead of half-time. Before looking to find the 2nd half run & shut them down. Diamonds have stayed ahead. But game is not over yet for the Ferns who continued to score. It is 22-16 at the break.

The Diamonds continued to lead during the first half of Stage 3. But the Ferns were six points at half-time. And smashed their way upfront. Thanks to the Diamonds attacking errors which does sound impatient. Ferns able to shave off the scoreboard lead before leading for the first time with 4 mins left. With Australia made some subs in order to solve their recent mess upfront. As the feel is not the same this time from the 1st half. Though they bounced back just before Stage 4 with the 1 point lead 31-30. 15 mins left after this on the run home. Will Australia tie 2-2 that would see them retain the series. Or will the Silver Ferns lock them out to cap off 3-1 & win the Constellation Cup since 2012.

In the end the Diamonds still lack answers with their defense to stop New Zealand. Alongside a isolated front three. Having unable to make up turnovers from the other end. Which led to missed chances up front. Silver Ferns on the other hand were able to get the job done upfront. As well as tightening the defense to prevent the Diamonds from catching up. And that helped the home side reach the finish line first for the Game 4 win & Constellation Cup trophy. The final score is 45-43.

Netball News, Top 3 players from the 2021 Constellation Cup Game 4: Ferns v Diamonds

Maia Wilson is such an outstanding goal shooter all series long for the Ferns. Such a tall stature in the front two. Alongside the other duo Ameliaranne Ekanasio (GA).

She brings a very tall stature to assist her throw in. Where Maia has so much physicality to burn down the defenders in the net. Especially after dueling with Sarah Klau on her opposite dial at GK.

Klau is not an easy opponent to face who also has the same height. But thanks to the poor Diamonds defense/ill-discipline areas. And lack of finishing. The Ferns players took their chances from the mid court. Maia got her hand up. Noticed Klau’s weaknesses by draining it for goal.

That momentum goes on and on with the Ferns defense so destructive. They were able to keep a close eye on the scoreboard. Before Australia beginning to lose the momentum with a isolated front three. And their loss is the Ferns gain in the end. With 41/43 shots today at 95%.

Jane Watson

How about Ferns another hard worker this time at the back is Jane Watson. She plays at Goal Defender. Alongside Sulu Fitzpatrick (GK) & Sam Winders (WD).

She tightened up the defense when never stop running all game. The reading was there. As the Diamonds tried to offer their attacking ability in the final third. But the poor choices from their mid court. One of them is Kate Moloney at centre who rushed through it. And Jane was able to cancel the opposition conversion play.

Not just the tireless defensive plays to make turnovers. She can also give her mid court the chance to reset. These reprieves going forward have stayed patient. Before finding some space to open the Diamonds back three. And found Wilson & Ekenasio destructive at every chance in the net.

Goes to show Jane has lots of experience at International level. Just never slips away to help the Ferns keep an eye on the scoreboard. Then overtake the Diamonds after their momentum dropped. Especially in the last two stages. With not much improvement. Despite subbing a few players. And the performance remains tip top for Jane Watson. Even at goal keeper to stop Cara Koenen & Kiera Austin.

Kiera Austin

The only opposition player who shot plenty of goals is Kiera Austin. She assists the goals alongside Cara Koenen. The fire off is there when the Diamonds pushed it early. Thanks to the support supplied from the mid court. Safe to say there is communication to leave the Ferns behind.

She is so young with plenty of physical strength. And a good eye on what the Ferns is trying to block. Before escaping them in the net. Thanks to Kiera noticed their weaknesses inside the circle. Having done it lots of times at Super Netball level.

You got to credit the experienced goal shooters that lifted her game. Such as Caitlin Bassett & Jo Harten. And now working with another young goal shooter like Cara Koenen. This duo will get better in the long run. Especially working alongside someone who has the height to burn defenders. Safe to say that Austin did not take much time to adjust here.

Unfortunately it was not her day with the result she wanted. Her mid court crew was not patient enough. In a way to trick the Ferns back three. Even with some chances later on to try and mitigate this issue. But nothing have turned a corner and it isolated her. In which extended into an open gap Diamonds defense. That is something from the mid courters to improve next time. So the clear crossing is not abrupt for Kiera to score many goals.

2021 Constellation Cup Netball Game 3: Ferns v Diamonds Game Report

The first stage was very competitive by the Diamonds and Silver Ferns in Game 3 for the 2021 Constellation Cup. Both sides put a brilliant shift in the defense having blocked each of their attacking chances on occasions. And have scored some points on the board in return. But the Diamonds just in front after 15 minutes, 14-11.

The 2nd stage remains the same intensity as it was from the opening stage. With the Diamonds continued to distance themselves from the Ferns up front. Thanks to the impressive front two of Kiera Austin & Cara Koenen. Alongside Liz Watson in the Diamonds front three. While Silver Ferns also catched up with some points needed to stay in the game.

But the home side have lost some missed conversions at times as well as the ill-disciplined defense. Especially when Karin Burger came on for a while replacing Jane Watson at Goal Defense. And nothing much have turned a corner. As the Diamonds lead at half-time ahead of the Ferns, 29-24.

Ferns have the upper hand this time having closed in the Diamonds from five points to just 1 to 2 on the scoreboard. A few changes with some fresh faces on the court have benefited this potential comeback. While the Diamonds momentum began to drop the momentum a little bit. Especially with some missed chances & lost penalties. But narrowly held on the lead 40-38 with just 15 minutes to go in the fourth & final stage. The 3rd Game result is not over just yet. So it is either the Diamonds win today & take home the series win. Since they are the reigning holders from 2019. Or will the Silver Ferns have a lifeline with one game left tomorrow & win this trophy for the second time.

In the end the Diamonds just unable to hold on these finishing touches. When their scrambled defense turned wide open which was difficult to stop. Thanks to the missed chances struck against the away side up front. And the Ferns who kept themselves just a tad behind for the majority. They have not taken the lead since the early parts of Stage 1. But came from behind and eventually locked the Diamonds down towards the very final siren. With the Ferns front three finally operating smoothly to keep their series hunt alive ahead of the 4th game tomorrow. Final score is 55-49.

Netball News, Top 3 players from the 2021 Constellation Cup Game 3: Ferns v Diamonds

Sam Winders is such a brilliant defender in the Silver Ferns back three. Alongside Sulu Fitzpatrick and Jane Watson. She is so good reading the situation well. When the Diamonds unable to find their own middle ground. And after the opposition rushed through with these crosses. Sam was able to take advantage of this situation. She might not be the tallest.

But at least she has the physical frame to stop these Diamonds lost chances. And turned them into poor discipline. As well as looking after her back two. With Fitzpatrick & Watson assisted Winders in return. It is not just the defensive aspect that seen the best of these two. Especially during the last two stages of Game 3.

She was also able to use her best physical trait going forward. Such as the long passes. And communicating with her own players from the Ferns attacking unit. So the finishing is there to help successfully cross into the circle. Once the Diamonds unable to stop the Ferns attack. Their front two of Ameliaranne Ekenasio & Maia Wilson looked destructive in the net. In which did haunt these opposition defenders. And applause for Winders for her hard work rate. Just does not stop running to protect/support her Ferns side.

Ameliaranne Ekanasio

The Ferns were so blessed to have Ameliaranne Ekenasio back. After she was forced to sit out during Game 2 due to an ankle strain. But recovered just in time to come back & do unfinished business at goal assist. The Ferns needed her so badly.And it looked like the home team have stayed closer on the scoreboard.

When Ekenasio benefitted with her troops from the mid court. Such as the crosses & close communication. So the ball comes to her within the circle. She sometimes scores on her own which is good. And gives Maia Wilson a hand with the reading from the opposition defense. And executed with valuable points either way.

She credits the lopsided Diamonds finishing touches. They were initially on the same page as her and Wilson at the start. But the 2nd half saw the Ferns front two put a shift next level. While beginning to falter from the other side. And the Ferns defense spotted it very well to give themselves a reprieve. Before Ekenasio & Wilson put the Ferns ahead by a couple of points in the end. Well Ekenasio is not in pain right now. So the Ferns needed her badly for tomorrow’s decider. If she can maintain the same form as today. Then she will lift the Constellation Cup trophy.

Liz Watson

She fired off well to put her Diamonds side ahead by a couple of points ahead. When the Silver Ferns were behind for the majority. And Watson able to find her front two with not much difficulty executing it in the net. Got a great notice there to give the opposition defenders some hesitation.

Then apply the accurate passing strength going forward. She ensured the correct communication is there to cross in the final third. Liz made 22 goal assists & 42 feeds throughout Game 3. In which is more than anyone team combined. Plus 14 centre pass receives by the best of any Diamonds player. Just one short overall behind Ameliaranne Ekenasio & Shannon Saunders of 15. It says a lot about Liz being so dominant here. Having done so well with the Melbourne Vixens at National League level. In which prepared a lot to pass her best Vixens performances in a Diamonds shirt. Where the other six are players that competed with/against her. And it will make her game stronger in the long run.

But today is just not her day. When the Diamonds front two unable to find their hands up within the circle. And trouble the Ferns towards the final few distance to reach the finish line. Plus the poor discipline from her back three. In which would have saw the Diamonds retain this series at the first attempt. They came here to Christchurch as the reigning champions from 16 months back. It does not mean that she and her Diamonds side will give up. There is one more game tomorrow. Just only one overall win mean would mean 1000 words more. If the Diamonds get to escape Christchurch with a 2-2 series tally. And have this prestigious trophy still held up high.

Netball News, 2021 Constellation Cup Silver Ferns v Diamonds: Top 3 players in Game 2

First of all congratulations to Cara Koenen on her impressive 1st start. After she came off as an impact sub in Game 1. And got all shots right 7/7 at 100% netting rate.

She is blessed with the support alongside Kiera Austin. As the powerful attacking front two. When the Ferns struggled to replicate their version that slipped away.

Credit to the whole squad who done brilliant in the 1st half. You got the defenders giving the Diamonds a red hot go. Then passes to the mid court & the communication was there. When they crossed with some space in the circle.

In which worked very well for either Austin or Koenen to focus on netting in. Cara used her tall reach knowing what Sulu Fitzpatrick is trying to do. And so does Jane Watson alongside her. As these two are difficult challengers to face. But fortunately she outmuscled the duo.

Where the added points are on the scoreboard. And she only missed just a few shots of 29/34. Plus a still decent shooting rate of 85%. Well Maia Wilson has a new challenger for the best goal shooter role. As Cara Koenen is settling in real fast at International level. She is age 25 who plays for the Sunshine Coast Lightning. Having experienced two titles with the club in 2017-18 Super Netball.

And having been in a winning side beforehand. It goes to shows that this is going to give Cara plenty of chances. She took it well with both hands as one of their main players. Made more Finals appearances in 2019 & 2020. Now she is next level studying who are these opponents. And how she ensured that life would not be harder as a Diamonds player. Two caps with little time of adjustment is power to Cara tonight.

Jo Weston

I got to say she has made life in the back three much easier tonight. Where Jo started in wing defense. Alongside Courtney Bruce (GD) & Sarah Klau (GK).

She looked after that impressive backline having fired off well. The reading was there when Silver Ferns struggled to make up the early lead. And it is something Jo took advantage to block their attacking chances. Especially when the Ferns are without Ameliaranne Ekenasio. As their usual skipper is out sore from last night.

Very tall reach with the physical presence that reflected her natural game. After she protected both Klau & Bruce being isolated. She also offered an attacking outlet herself by going a bit advanced.

She gave these attackers from the other end a go. And exactly gave the return that Jo Wanted. It was too easy to reflect a big 15 point lead by half-time. With the hard work being backed up during the 1st half.

Although they struggled after Jo had to rest on the bench. Where the Diamonds began to drop the momentum a little bit in the 2nd half. But held on strong with the win. You got to credit her for the fine performance. In which did help get the ball rolling for the Diamonds. Just needed Jo all game to protect her back two. As well as link up the other end with the flow.

Plus the communication improved as said a little earlier. With Bruce & Klau working alongside Jo. Stick that back three for Game 3 this Saturday. If they are to retain this Trans-Tasman series in New Zealand.

Jane Watson

The Ferns may have fallen short in the end tonight. But based on the individual player performance tonight. Why not go for Jane Watson at Goal Defense. As she celebrates her 50th International cap.

Jane has the mindset where she read it well. Having seen the opposition being so hesitant on occasions. And she just came in shots fired. With the physicality and pace to cancel the Diamonds from leaking points. They would be fuming to have that ball crosses taken away. Then Watson able to win that turnover for the Silver Ferns. Such a fine player to watch after lots of experience gained over the years.

But at large it was the other end of the Ferns side that let her down. The fire off was not the same as it was last night during Game 1. With no Ameliaranne Ekanasio in the squad at all. Not even via the substitutes bench. And the Ferns struggled to match what the Diamonds set up. At least in the first two stages.

Although, the addition of Bailey Mes saw a different Ferns side in the 2nd half. It was the exact same intensity that helped them win last night. There is a lot of Jane Watson running around. And blocking out these Diamonds finishing with the turnovers. In which reflects her hard work communicating. Not just with her fellow defenders. But also seeing the Ferns attackers winning the 2nd half alone. Just not enough to make lost time in the end.

She will continue to contribute for the benefit of netball. Both at club and international level. Now at age 30 Jane still has unfinished business on her physical prime. Such as her ongoing goal with the series win. In which is still possible to come back this weekend. Jane needs the front 3 stay together that worked well in the 2nd half tonight. And stay there for Game 3 this Saturday.

Netball News, 2021 Constellation Cup Game 2 Debrief: Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds

Image Reference: Wikipedia

The Diamonds fired off to a great start with the early lead v Silver Ferns in Game 2. It was an easy ride for them ahead in the first half of Stage 1. Thanks to a few changes that worked very late in Game 1 last night. Despite the overall loss by a few points 44-49. And Australia at last changed their tune in a positive light as they win Stage 1, 15-6.

Stage 2 sees the Diamonds maintain their momentum from right when the first whistle blew. They showed plenty of attacking intent in the final third. In contary to last night which did not happen for most of the time. That is an improvement added from a defensive-only performance. While the Silver Ferns struggled at large with the missed conversions. In which turned into a isolated back three. As the Diamonds lead Silver Ferns by 15 points at half-time, 30-16.

The Ferns made up some lost time with a couple of points back on the board. Where the momentum has upped the ante after a slow & turbulent 1st two stages. Their defense has tighened alongside improved communication going forward. But the Diamonds still lead by 9-10 points. Having desperately scrambling to hold on the defense. Despite a few points scored behind Silver Ferns in Stage 3 alone. Neverthless the Diamonds go into Stage 4 up front, 38-28.

In the end both sides were so competitive tonight. But this time it belonged to a different winner. As the Diamonds bounce back with the performance they deserve. The final score is 45-36. And Diamonds tie 1-1 with Ferns in the four-game 2021 Constellation Cup Series. There is two games left this Saturday & Sunday. Where we look forward to the climax. And see who will take home the trophy.

Netball News, 2021 Constellation Cup Game 1 debrief: Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds

It was a competitive first stage in Game 1 of the 2021 Constellation Cup. When the Silver Ferns & Australian Diamonds were neck in neck. With valuable points netted on offer. But it is Ferns who just edged them for the early lead by 4 points, 14-10.

The next stage saw the Ferns beginning to put their attacking foundations. Having worked their way to distance themselves from the Diamonds. They were two points ahead 14-12 in the early stages. Before the Diamonds struggled to stop the Ferns netting spree. That sees the home side lead by 7 points at the break, 28-21.

Although the Diamonds continued to climb with the added points. They still unable to crack the Ferns defense. Despite some great work from their back three. Was behind by 5 points as soon as the 3rd stage began. But got further behind by 9 before the final 15 minutes. Ferns 40-31.

In the end the Ferns looked so incredible on all areas. Especially in the final third with Gina Crampton at wing attack. She was blessed with the back three’s hard work. Having seen them advantage of the Diamonds unsuccessful conversions. And helped Gina produce the assists to her front two. Where Maia Wilson & Ameliaranne Ekanasio were threatening to defenders. They netted exactly just like that to isolate the Diamonds back three.

The final score in Christchurch is Ferns 49-44 Diamonds. With the home side take the 1-0 lead in the four-game Constellation Cup contest. There is a day turnaround. When Game 2 will be back tonight. It will be interesting to see if the Diamonds bounce back with a win. If not their only hope is winning the last two games this weekend. And tie this series having entered as the defending holders.

Netball News, Top 3 players in Game 1 of the 2021 Constellation Cup: Silver Ferns v Australian Diamonds

Well as everyone noticed Gina Crampton played outstanding for the Ferns. She plays in the wing attack role. Supporting skipper Ameliaranne Ekanasio in the goal attack. And Goal Shooter Maia Wilson.

She is blessed with the Ferns defensive hard work. When the back three able to spot the Diamonds mistakes in the final third. In which did prevent them from scoring valuable points. So the opposition found trouble catching up the scoreboard.

These back three players gave Crampton every chance to execute. Where Gina was able to navigate from the assistance in mid-court. Such as Sam Winders & Claire Kersten. She communicated with Wilson & Ekanasio. Having found a way to cross into the circle. And let these two pull off towards the net. In which emphasised a lot about her setup/tools in the final third.

She made a whopping 35 feeds in Game 1 tonight. That is the best out of any team combined. And 14 centre pass receives behind Ekenasio of 17. As spoken a bit earlier about the close communication involved. Where she and Ekenasio used this to maintain ball possession. So it does not get stuffed by the Australia with maximum points on the board. Unlike the Diamonds who were unable to match the Ferns front three. Apart from the defense.

Sam Winders

She looked after the Silver Ferns defense in the back three tonight. Alongside Jane Watson & Sulu Fitzpatrick. And of course Karin Burger in the subs when required.

Can chase down/block the Diamonds missed chances. When the opposition were hesitant to match the attack that the Ferns have set. That reading received to Winders helped relieve the pressure off both defenders. Hence Sam made a couple of good calls to protect the back 3.

Sam can also go a bit more advance going forward. Not just building every foundation to connect the momentum in the other end. She can also make up long passes too. Either way the Ferns took their chances well in return. And her work rate helped them crack the Diamonds defense.

It says a lot about her talents with plenty of physicality. She is around 24/25 right now. Having gained 37-38 International caps since 2017. Safe to say that Sam is an important player for the Ferns. The work resumes tomorrow for the 2nd Game of this series v Australia. And hopes that the momentum is still there. Like the England series late last year. Sam would like another series win to lift after Sunday.

Courtney Bruce

She fired off to a slow start in the goal keeper role. When the leaked points counted not just against her. But also the entire Australian Diamonds team itself.

Though she played very well tonight as an individual player. Having seen Courtney moved into goal defense. After Sarah Klau came in to play in her old starting role.

Courtney did everything to protect the Diamonds defense. The reading is there as usual. With the Ferns lost some ground against her zone on occasions. And she was able to take advantage of that. Due to her tall reach. Having taken five intercepts in Game one. Which is higher than anyone in the defensive setup. Goes to show impressive physicality & reading.

Despite blocking everything possible from her end defensively. And giving the other end of the Diamonds attacking unit a chance. They unfortunately did not match what the Ferns set up all game. Where there was a lack of execution. Plus a lack of talking up which made them so hesitant. They pretty much let Courtney down who was isolated in return. After each time you see the scoreboard moving without her way. Considering one part of this side is decent. But the other half is not. And it is something that Australia need to bounce back tomorrow in Game 2.