The Constellation Cup – Australia defeats New Zealand for the seventh year.

The Kiwis just missed. Australia won the Constellation Cup series in Perth. With both teams taking 2 wins it came down to percentage.

Netball has long been the most popular sport for women and girls in Australia. There was a time when in the winter the boys would play football and the girls would play netball.  That’s just how it was.  However, these days, there are many more sports to choose from and girls are venturing into previously male dominated sports.  But, netball still has a very high participation level, with over 37% of girls aged 6-13 playing netball.

Accordingly, this high level of participation and a strong grassroots organisation has put the Australian women’s team (The Diamonds) at the top of the world rankings for many years.  Taking out numerous Commonwealth Games and World Cup Gold Medals.

The most popular national sport in Australia is Cricket, in which Australians are very successful at. There are two major football codes Rugby League played predominantly in New South Wales and Queensland, and Aussie Rules popular in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. Rugby Union and Association Football (known mostly as Soccer) is also played. The most popular female sport is Netball.

And we pay due homage to the all conquering Diamonds who simply blitzed the Silver Ferns in the final game of the series in Perth.

Kiwi coach slams refereeing as Diamonds win Constellation Cup

New Zealand coach Noeline Taurua has launched an extraordinary spray at Singaporean referee Joan Yuliani after the Australian Diamonds retained the Constellation Cup with a 53-46 netball win in Perth.

The Diamonds blitzed the Silver Ferns with a 16-7 opening-quarter onslaught at RAC Arena on Sunday, and led by as many as 16 goals during the second term as their suffocating pressure proved too much to handle.

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Noeline Taurua was not happy with the officiating in the fourth Test

But with star shooter Maria Folau nailing almost everything that came her way, the Silver Ferns reduced the margin to seven goals in the third quarter, and then just four goals with seven minutes remaining.

The Diamonds kept their cool at the death to secure the win and level the series at 2-2, claiming the Constellation Cup on superior goal percentage.

But it was the quality of refereeing that was a big talking point after the match, with Taurua furious at Yuliani’s performance.

New Zealand are renowned for their on-court discipline, often committing 25 per cent less fouls than Australia whenever the arch-rivals meet.

But Sunday’s match told a different statistical tale, with NZ called for 66 penalties to Australia’s 63.

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The Diamonds celebrate their Constellation Cup victory

Taurua believed many of those calls were wrong, and even went to the trouble of analysing the foul count from the past five matches between the two sides to prove her point.

She said the fact that Yuliani was handed the refereeing gig in the fourth Test despite not officiating in any of the previous three matches of the series was a huge mistake.

“We have somebody that comes in from Singapore – where are they ranked? – and blows it [the interpretations of the rules] out of the window,” Taurua said.

“I thought the Diamonds were confused [as well] to some respect.

“One minute it’s a two-second held ball, next minute it’s a four-minute held ball, next minute there’s nothing, there’s no call at all.

“That really disturbs me, because we are not a 60-penalty team. We want to put something out there that’s really competitive.

“But yet the decisions that are made behind the scenes in regards to that quality is unacceptable. For that I’m really disappointed.”

Taurua made a special point to praise the Diamonds, declaring them the better team on the day.

But she said the issue of referee quality needed to be addressed, and she’s vowed to put in a formal complaint.

Star Diamonds goal shooter Caitlin Bassett nailed 25 of her 28 goal attempts to ensure she celebrated her 100-game milestone with a win in front of 13,233 fans – a new netball record crowd for Perth.

The win was also the perfect send-off for retiring shooter Caitlin Thwaites, who replaced Bassett in the third quarter to finish with six goals.

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The retiring Caitlin Thwaites waves farewell to the crowd

“Definitely the pressure’s off,” Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander said after the match.”I just had the feeling they weren’t going to let it slip. We practised all week. They just dug in and they dug really deep, and they did a fantastic job.”

The victory was sweet revenge for Australia, who lost the World Cup final to New Zealand by a goal in July, and also twice lost to the Silver Ferns during the current series by a goal.

Source: smh.com.au

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