Silver Ferns 55
Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua was smart not to make any promises ahead of New Zealand's final Quad Series clash against the Australian Diamonds.
After a decisive 24-goal win over South Africa on Tuesday night, Taurua urged her side not to get ahead of themselves and warned that the Diamonds would be a truer test of their perceived improvements.
And exactly as the new head coach suggested, the Ferns went down this afternoon to their Aussie rivals with a 60-55 defeat in Melbourne securing the Diamonds their second straight Quad Series title.
Although suffering their seventh straight defeat to the world number one, it was the closest margin since last year's Constellation Cup.
In a strong start, shooters Maria Folau and Te Paea Selby-Rickit showed continued improvement as a new combination while captain Laura Langman led her midcourt with confident circle feeds.
Meanwhile, Katrina Grant was in sublime form as the vice-captain caused early problems for Australian shooter and captain Caitlin Bassett.
But nicely assisted by her accurate goal attack, Gretel Tippett, Bassett quickly settled under the hoop to take control of space and assert her towering dominance over the Ferns' defensive unit.
Taking control of the clash, the Diamonds pushed ahead with a threatening five-goal lead which they forcefully held through to the second half.
Creating and taking as many opportunities to score, the Ferns played with promising resilience throughout the third quarter as they fought to keep up with the home side.
Uncharacteristic errors from the Diamonds presented the Ferns with a few turnover opportunities and with Folau in impressive long-range shooting form, the Kiwi side continued to apply the pressure.
With the young Aliyah Dunn on the court in her second international test, the Ferns looked to switch up the pace of their attacking unit in the final stanza, keeping in touch of the hosts.
However, the Diamonds stepped up in the final minutes in true Australian netball style, strongly holding their lead to topple the Kiwis and claim the spoils.
Earlier in the afternoon, the England Roses avoided disaster, claiming a come from behind 45-42 victory over the South African Proteas.
The Proteas took an early seven-goal lead in the opening quarter but lost their touch in the final stages of the match to come up just short of a famous win.
The Ferns will face Australia again for the first of four matches in the Constellation Cup next month.