The weekend marked the dawn of an eagerly anticipated Quad Series featuring four of the very best teams in international netball.
Brisbane saw host to the opening set of fixtures, where an inexperienced Australian side beat England and New Zealand saw off a resilient South African side.
Australia 54 – 50 England
Defending champions, Australia, fielded a inexperienced side against England who in contrast, has the most experience out of all of the 4 sides in the Quad Series. This didn’t prove to be a factor, as the young Diamonds beat the world number 3s by a margin of 4 goals.
Courtney Bruce had a dream debut for The Diamonds as she made several key interceptions in defense. Bruce was named player of the match which isn’t a bad way to begin your international career.
Another impressive performance came from Caitlin Bassett who was making her first appearance as Diamonds captain. She scored 43 of Australia’s 54 goals with a conversion rate of 93%.
England do have positives to take out of the opening game defeat, however. They kept up the pace throughout and only trailed by 3 with 2 minutes left on the clock. Helen Housby converted 30 goals from her 34 attempts and was influential in the Roses late rally.
Next up for England is world number 2 New Zealand and Australia play South Africa.
New Zealand 63 – 56 South Africa
A much improved South African side just came up short against the Silver Ferns. With a half time score at 31-30 in favor of New Zealand, many believed a potential upset was on the cards. The last time these sides met, New Zealand dominated, winning by a margin of 31. This was not the case this time around as South Africa, under new coach Elsje Jordaan, really took the game to the Silver Ferns. It wasn’t until the 3rd quarter where New Zealand started to show their class, winning the quarter by a 8 goal margin.
Wing attacker Whitney Souness made her debut for the Silver Ferns as she was named in the starting 7. Bailey Mes netted 35 of her 36 attempts at goal while teammate Maria Tutaia was named player of the match.
For South Africa, Lenize Potgieter converted 43 out of her 49 attempts at goal but it wasn’t enough to beat the Silver Ferns.
South Africa will need to display another strong performance when they play world champions Australia in Canberra, while New Zealand will need to improve as they face England on home soil.
Next Fixtures (30th August, 7.30pm*local time*)
Australia V South Africa (AIS Arena, Canberra)
New Zealand V England (The Trust Arena, Auckland)