Silver Ferns 81
New Zealand Under 21s 33
In one of the final opportunities for players to impress coach Dame Noeline Taurua and solidify their spot in the black dress, the Silver Ferns have claimed a massive 81-33 win over the New Zealand Under 21s.
Tonight's game was the last round robin match of the warm-up series ahead of next week's Taini Jamison Trophy against England. The Ferns face the New Zealand Men in the final tomorrow night.
With captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Te Paea Selby-Rickit both rested due to load management, the Ferns' young shooters benefited from extra court time to prove themselves. Maia Wilson and Monica Falkner were first up before 18-year-old Grace Nweke took to the court from the second quarter, all three putting up decent performances under the hoop.
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Following an already one-sided opening quarter in their favour, the Silver Ferns dominated the NZ Under 21s to win the second 25-6, and take a massive 29-goal lead at halftime.
Under 21 shooters Hannah Glen and Khiarna Williams were accurate in the circle but a lack of ball made their opportunities to score slim. Their efforts weren't made easier under the defensive pressure of Karin Burger, and Sulu Fitzpatrick, who snatched three intercepts.
It continued in that vein for the NZ Under 21s in the second half as the Ferns carried on with fast, clinical netball – a step up from what they put out against New Zealand A in their opening match on Wednesday.
Jane Watson and Kelly Jury got a run in the defensive end, Jury picking up two intercepts in her short time on court.
The Under 21s continued to struggle in all areas against the world champions, but nonetheless would've found the match-up invaluable to their preparation for next year's postponed Netball World Youth Cup.
Earlier, the New Zealand Men continued their unbeaten run with a just as impressive 60-37 win over New Zealand A.
The Silver Ferns meet the New Zealand Men in the final tomorrow night at 8pm, after the New Zealand U21s play New Zealand A for third at 6pm.