Silver Ferns 55
Australian Diamonds 44
It's the moment Kiwi netball fans have been waiting for.
The Silver Ferns finally put an end to their near-historic nine-game losing streak against the Australian Diamonds to claim their first win 55-44 in the 2018 Constellation Cup at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena.
After showing patches of promise throughout the first two tests in Australia, losing 57-42 in Brisbane and 56-47 in Townsville, the Ferns finally proved they know how to win – and how to win well.
Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman said it was very special to claim the win on home ground.
"It's really nice to be fair and I think there's no place like home to do it," Langman said after the clash, "Ultimately for us, it just reinforced that what we're doing, we're on the right track.
"We knew it was there and we just had to be patient … for me the win is really a reinforcement that our processes, when we get them right [and] when we have the discipline and the patience to stick to them, the scoreboard takes care of itself."
Silver Ferns head coach Noeline Taurua was pleased to add a win against Australia to her short record in charge of the national side but was hesitant to get too excited, urging that there were still plenty of areas to address.
"From my end, I can just see the gaps, I know that sounds terrible, but I can see room for improvement," Taurua said.
"It's within our grasp to not only win the [final] but also the cup as well so I'm absolutely rapt that we're still in the game but we've got to be able to put it into action.
"Great improvements from where we were and it's great to get the [win] on the board … [but] time will tell whether we can back ourselves up."
Taking a narrow one-goal lead after the first quarter, the Ferns took control with Maria Folau and Te Paea Selby-Rickit's shooting efforts.
In a bid to settle her side, Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander called Caitlin Bassett on at goal shoot after starting her on the bench, but even the Australian captain couldn't stop the Ferns' fast pace with an uncharacteristically average shooting performance.
Meanwhile, Folau and Selby-Rickit played on with a 100 per cent shooting rate in the second quarter aided by a forceful Ferns midcourt featuring stellar efforts by Gina Crampton and Samantha Sinclair.
Ferns defender and player of the match Jane Watson was in sublime form picking up vital rebounds and intercepts. And, unlike in the past few games, the Ferns treasured possession - capitalising from almost every opportunity they were given to stun their opponents and put the World Champions in unfamiliar territory.
Pulling ahead to their biggest lead in the series so far, the Ferns made sure they kept the pressure on their rivals right until the final moments to steal the show and finally deliver a passionate home crowd that winning feeling.
The decisive win restores hope that the Silver Ferns could claim the annual Constellation Cup for the first time since 2012 but need at least a massive 14-goal win on Thursday night in Wellington to pull it off.