Radio Sport Mornings' host Jason Pine counts down the top 15 sporting moments of the year. Today: Number 3 - Silver Ferns and their remarkable return to glory.

The Silver Ferns hadn't won the Netball World Cup for 16 years and no-one expected that run to end at Liverpool 2019.

It had been a difficult 18 months for the Ferns who had missed the podium altogether at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and endured some of the worst results in their storied history.

But the silver lining was the recruitment of Noeline Taurua as head coach, the return to the fold of Laura Langman and Casey Kopua and an upswing in form, including a rare Constellation Cup win over Australia, even though the series was lost 3-1.

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Even so, the Ferns were far from favourites as they arrived in Liverpool for the start of the tournament.

In the preliminary pool stage, the Ferns cruised past Malawi 64-45, Barbados 78-25, and Singapore 89-21.

In the second round of pool matches, the ferns accounted comfortably for Zimbabwe 79-36, and Northern Ireland 77-28, before a game against Australia to decide who would finish top of the pool and earn the easier semi-final.

Australia led by 6 at half-time, but the Ferns pulled that back to 54 at three-quarter time and deep into the final quarter that lead was trimmed to one. A missed shot with seconds left from Maria Folau left the Ferns on the losing side of the ledger.

That narrow loss fed New Zealand into a semi-final against England, who they'd lost to in each of their last four meetings, including a 54-41 defeat in the quad series in Liverpool in January

The Ferns led by three after the first quarter, but were 24-21 down at half-time. A superb third quarter saw New Zealand go ahead 36-33. Then, a nail-biting finish which included some crucial plays in the final minutes, saw New Zealand hang on to win 47-45.

And so, for the sixth straight World Cup, it would be Australia against New Zealand in the final.

Australia had won 4 of those 5 finals, and had also won eight of nine most recent matches between the two.

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After a tight first quarter, the scores were locked at 10-all, before the Ferns put in a superb second quarter - at halftime, the Ferns led 28-25.

In the shooting circle, Maria Folau had shot 16 of 21 while Ameliaranne Ekenasio was 12 from 13.

Into the third quarter, the Ferns held their nerve and further increased their lead.

At three-quarter time the Ferns led 41-37, but had to withstand an inevitable Diamonds fightback, however, with one minute remaining, Ekenasio lined up her 26th shot at goal - she nailed it. It was her 24th goal from 26 attempts to put the Ferns ahead by two.

Then, as the clock started ticking down, and desperation crept in, the crowd began to count off the seconds.

In those final 10 seconds, there was a surreal and collective feeling of disbelief, that after the 18 months of pain the Ferns had felt, they were in this position.

The clock strikes zero.

The Silver Ferns had done it, they had won 52-51 to win the World Cup for the first time since 2003.

From the misery of missing the podium on the Gold Coast last year, through a coaching and captaincy change and a fair amount of fall-out and pain, the Silver Ferns returned to the top of the world , and were in fact the only one of our major sporting sides to taste World Cup success in 2019.