After just one game, the Netball Quad Series is all but decided.

Australia, the winners of the inaugural series back in August last year, have the trophy firmly in their grasp once more following their 57-50 win over the Silver Ferns overnight.

There are still four games, and many kilometres to be travelled in this series, but based on this morning's results, it seems headed for the same inevitable outcome.

Given the teams only play each other once, the best hopes for making this series interesting is England. In previous seasons the Roses have proven capable of giving Australia a shake-up at this time of year, but their sluggish opening performance against South Africa this morning does not bode well for their chances of upsetting the polished Australians.


That the Silver Ferns are now in the position of relying on other results to go their way to have a shot at the silverware will be hugely disappointing for coach Janine Southby.

If ever there were a time the Australians were vulnerable, this was surely it.

The Diamonds are missing several frontline players for the series, including key strikeweapon Caitlin Bassett, Natalie Medhurst and Madison Robinson. But Lisa Alexander had the luxury of being able to whip out a trio of experienced players out of the warming drawer and say "voila, here's an attacking line I prepared earlier".

Not only did her new-look starting line-up of Caitlin Thwaites, Susan Pettitt and Paige Hadley have significant international experience already under their belts, they are a long-established combination, having played together at the NSW Swifts for several seasons.

That is the key difference between Australia and New Zealand.

It is hard to imagine Alexander ever being in the position - as Southby was this weekend - of having replace a player who has not missed a game for her side in 12 seasons, with a debutant.

The historic clash in Durban was notable for more than just the location. It was the first time since November 2004 that the Ferns midcourt has not featured Laura Langman.

While many have railed against the set of circumstances that led Langman to be ineligible for national selection this year, her absence is at least ensuring Southby gets a chance to stock up the warming drawer.