Diamonds Defeat New Zealand To Claim Netball Quad Title
Former basketballer Gretel Tippett has helped Australia wrap up the four-nations netball Quad Series with a 60-55 win over New Zealand at Melbourne Arena.
The Diamonds completed a clean sweep to finish ahead of England, New Zealand and South Africa and underlined their status as world No.1.
While the Australians led at every break, the Silver Ferns showed they are back on track under new coach Noeline Taurua after just three weeks in the role.
Tippett only took up netball as an 18-year-old when she was looking to improve her fitness as she returned to the WNBL after a bout of glandular fever.
In her first start of the series, replacing injured goal attack Stephanie Wood, Tippett showed her athleticism to form a strong combination in the circle with Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett.
The younger sister of former AFL star Kurt Tippett, the 25-year-old finished with 14 goals, shooting at 100 per cent, while Bassett led the scoring for the home team with 46 goals from 50 attempts.
The teams went almost point for point in the opening quarter before the Diamonds broke away for a five-goal margin.
They maintained that lead at halftime despite the best efforts of New Zealand goal attack Maria Folau, who had her best game of the series.
Teenage goal shooter Aliyah Dunn chimed in with 10 goals from 10 attempts in the final quarter while veteran midcourter Laura Langman looked sharp after returning to the New Zealand team after a two-year absence.
The lead went out to 10 early in the final quarter but the Diamonds struggled to put their opponents away and the Kiwis cut that margin in half with two minutes to play.
The Australians held on but there were definite signs their long-standing rivalry has resumed.
Featured Image: Getty Images.