Netball: Ferns shot down in thriller

Renae Hallinan of Australia and Shannon Francois of New Zealand contest possession during game five of the Constellation Cup series. Photo / Getty Images.
Renae Hallinan of Australia and Shannon Francois of New Zealand contest possession during game five of the Constellation Cup series. Photo / Getty Images.

Super shooter Caitlin Bassett has come off the bench to clinch a thrilling 50-49 comeback win over New Zealand and complete a 4-1 Constellation Cup netball series triumph.

The Diamonds already had the cup back in their kitbag going into Sunday's final Test in Canberra, but there was no lessening in intensity from the Silver Ferns who were desperate after losing the previous three Tests.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander put her No.1 shooter Bassett - who had two 40-goal plus hauls in the series - on the bench to give goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites her debut and Thwaites responded with 11 goals from 13 attempts.

But New Zealand overcame a first-quarter deficit as their indefatigable goal attack Maria Tutaia (24 from 33) and shooter Catherine Latu (25 from 27) edged them to a 26-23 halftime lead despite the best efforts of Australian defenders Bianca Chatfield and captain Laura Geitz.

Alexander responded by introducing the taller Bassett (20 from 25 attempts) as Australia clawed back to 38-all at three-quarter-time.

New Zealand led in the final minutes but could not hold off the home team's late surge as Bassett got them level then nailed the clincher.

There is another domestic season and more international Tests to be played before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but the young Australian team will be confident they can reclaim that title too next year after this series.

-AAP

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