Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Ferns make statement against minnows

Katrina Grant of New Zealand in action against Australia. Photo / Getty Images
Katrina Grant of New Zealand in action against Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Silver Ferns 70 Malawi 32
It was never expected to be close and it certainly wasn't as the Silver Ferns eased past Malawi in the first test in Wellington last night.

The Ferns, who were smarting from their recent 4-1 Constellation Cup drubbing at the hands of Australia, wanted to make a statement against the world No 5.

They didn't do it in spectacular fashion but they steadily improved throughout the contest as they eventually cruised past the Queens.

For a fleeting moment, Malawi held the lead when they were up 2-0 during the opening minutes.

Malawi's advantage was short-lived though and New Zealand quickly eased out to a lead of their own.

Malawi did bring it back to 8-8 but once the Silver Ferns got a few passes to stick they moved to a 14-10 lead after the first quarter.

Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu took the opportunity to trial a few things as Katrina Grant was commissioned in the unfamiliar role of wing defence.

Grant is usually more accustomed to the goal keep position but took advantage of the opportunity to roam the court given the freedom wing defence offers.

With Grant out of the circle, her Central Pulse teammate Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit was able to make her test debut at goal defence on her home court.

Leana de Bruin partnered Selby-Rickit in the defensive circle and grabbed two intercepts and a rebound during a busy first half.

The second quarter was where the Silver Ferns really stretched their legs as they opened up a sizeable advantage on the scoreboard as their superior height, ball security and delivery in to the shooting circle came to the fore.

By halftime the score read 34-18 in favour of New Zealand and any thoughts of this outing being competitive were well and truly extinguished.

Irene van Dyk shot 39 from 44 and was her typical resolute self under the hoop.

The second test is in Napier on Sunday.


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