Maybe not a broken record but the Silver Ferns' needle is stuck in the same groove.

They struggle to drive through midcourt to create space and connect with the shooters and those issues were exposed again at the start of the Quad series against England.

The statistics scream trouble. The Ferns had a high shooting success with 41 goals from 45 attempts but Maria Folau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio didn't shoot enough. When they tip the ball out then back into the circle to gain a few extra centimetres of room while risking a mistake you want to yell at the shooters.


England had a lower strike rate but they made 66 shots and it was no surprise when they found another gear to push out to a 13 goal margin and their fourth successive win against New Zealand.

Coach Noeline Taurua fingered the lack of attacking fluidity from the centre pass and players getting isolated for the problems and subbed centre Sam Sinclair at halftime. But from being a goal adrift at the break the score blew out in the third quarter.

The Ferns targeted two wins from three in this series in Liverpool which puts even more heat on their next performance when they step out against Australia on Sunday.

They have beaten Australia once in five matches since Taurua took over as coach with the promise of a recovery in the team's tactics, passion and results built on the return of the experienced pair of Laura Langman and Casey Kopua.

Taurua's reign began with a 13 point defeat to England last September and while the players were different that margin was the same when the teams played again midweek.

Suggestions Australia have their issues gained some traction after the Diamonds struggled early against South Africa as they worked to cover the absence of skipper and goal-shoot Caitlin Bassett who broke her arm in a pre-tournament match.

They eventually pulled away for a 17 goal win as irritated coach Lisa Alexander maintained her side was built around the skills of many players not just Bassett's shooting prowess and leadership .

Comparisons about the improvements either side of the Tasman will come into focus at Liverpool on Sunday in a match the Ferns must show more cohesion and firepower to put some substance around claims of their upgrades.


It was tough first up against England who are the Commonwealth Games champions and have a very strong defensive circle led by Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown while Australia bring a strong all-court game honed in their nationwide competition.

Taurua has sharpened her coaching craft on the Sunshine Coast in Australia's domestic series but apart from Langman and Folau the rest of the Ferns do not feel a similar playing edge honed on consistent club rivalries between the two nations.

With less than six months until the World Cup, Taurua has gone for significant changes.

She's left out former skipper Katrina Rore and backed the talent of Whitney Souness, Erena Mikaere, Kimiora Poi and Karin Burger to add a new level to the experienced core.

However, the midweek outing against England left us wondering if it's a new track but the same old sound.