The Australian Diamonds have recovered from a slow start to beat New Zealand’s Silver Ferns 57-42 in the first of netball’s four-game Constellation Cup series in Brisbane.
Coming into the game after winning the Quad Series with New Zealand, South Africa and England, the Diamonds struggled early but a six-goal burst in the second quarter secured them a comfortable win, their eighth straight over the Silver Ferns.
In a match where all 12 Diamonds got on the court, skipper Caitlin Bassett and goal attack Steph Wood played the first half before Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett took the court after the long break.
Bassett scored 17 from 21 shots and Wood seven from 11, while Thwaites and Tippett were perfect from 21 and 12 shots respectively.
Maria Folau led the way for the Silver Ferns, shooting 26 from 29.
Lisa Alexander’s side were a little fortunate to be level at 10-all after an error-strewn first quarter but steadied to reach halftime 24-16 in front.
Despite a host of changes at half time, the third-quarter saw the Diamonds at their most dominant, outscoring their rivals 20-11.
A lopsided penalty count of 62-35 ended up costing New Zealand dear, as Australia pulled away after the break.
Playing without Kim Ravaillion, who is taking the rest of the year off ahead of the 2019 World Cup, call-up Kate Moloney and Liz Watson split duties at centre.
The teams will meet again in Townsville on Wednesday before ending the series with two games across the ditch.