Silver Ferns 39
As it turns out, Noeline Taurua can't save the world overnight.
In their first appearance on the international stage since April's Commonwealth Games, the Silver Ferns were defeated 52-39 by the England Roses at Auckland's Spark Arena in their first Quad Series clash - their biggest ever defeat to their English rivals.
Although undoubtedly disappointed with the loss, the Ferns did show some passion, direction, and composure – fresh traits that can only be credited to the new leadership of Taurua and the return of veterans Laura Langman and Casey Kopua.
Langman, who was voted in as captain earlier this week, led the Ferns confidently as she dominated the midcourt in her highly-anticipated return to the international netball scene, but it wasn't enough, with the Ferns slow off the blocks and never managing to gain a lead.
Ferns shooters Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio took time to settle under the hoop with uncharacteristic hesitancy as the pressure of tenacious English defender Geva Mentor proved too much for the experienced duo.
Although the Ferns suffered a major blow to their defensive unit earlier in the week with standout goal keep Temalisi Fakahokotau sidelined with a serious knee injury, Katrina Grant was in sublime form alongside Jane Watson.
The fresh defending duo picked up vital rebounds and intercepts to keep the Ferns in contention throughout the second stanza, while midcourters Gina Crampton and Samantha Sinclair were quick to follow in the pace of their skipper as the side made back lost ground.
However, it was the disappointing shooting statistics from veteran Folau (22/30) which kept the Ferns from claiming the lead, going into the break down 22-21.
In a bid to address the Ferns' ailing accuracy rate, Taurua called goal shoot Te Paea Selby-Rickit to the court in place of Ekenasio, before implementing her second bold move with young midcourter Elisapeta Toeava called onto the court during the third quarter for her Silver Ferns debut.
Toeava's brilliant vision and direction resulted in immediate connection with her shooters, and the Ferns were in with a shout, briefly reducing the deficit to just two goals.
Grant continued to lead her defence unit as the vice-captain desperately tried to contain accurate English shooter Helen Housby, but as the Roses' attacking unit continued to outshine the Ferns' efforts to catch up, the scoreline suddenly widened.
A four goal buffer through three quarters quickly turned into an insurmountable margin, as the Ferns started the final period with a dire seven minute scoreless stretch.
With nothing left to give, the Ferns eventually succumbed to their third straight loss to England - something that would have sounded crazy just a few years ago.
The Ferns will now head south to Tauranga in preparation for Tuesday night's clash against South Africa, before then facing the Australian Diamonds next Sunday in Melbourne for the conclusion of the Quad Series.
Earlier in the evening, the defending champions Diamonds easily defeated South Africa 61-44.