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The Silver Ferns must learn how to grind out wins in close games against quality opposition, Noeline Taurua says.
Australia all but locked away the Constellation Cup for another year after toppling the Ferns 56-47 in Townsville on Wednesday to take a 2-0 lead in the four-game series.
New Zealand showed signs of progress after Sunday’s errorridden 57-42 loss in Brisbane, but were guilty of a fourth quarter implosion, which swung the match Australia’s way.
The Ferns rallied after halftime to trail 43-42 with 11 minutes left, but produced a horrible fiveminute stretch, when Australia scored eight unanswered goals.
New head coach Taurua, who has only been in the job a matter of weeks, said they were competing with the top two teams in world netball, Australia and England, for large passages.
Learning how to push through in the crunch stages of the fourth quarter and win games was the next challenge.
For a team that lost to Malawi at the Commonwealth Games and dropped three matches to Jamaica this year, Taurua said it was about restoring confidence and staying composed in the pressure moments.
Australia didn’t flinch when the Ferns got within striking distance in their play and to push through when the game was there for the taking.
Losing never sits well with the ultra-competitive Taurua but she acknowledged the Townsville performance was a major lift from the Constellation Cup opener, where they committed a staggering 40 turnovers.
‘‘We were right there up to five minutes of the fourth quarter and that in itself is an improvement. I thought we fought really well.’’
The Silver Ferns’ rebuild job isn’t going to happen over one series against a team of Australia’s calibre.
Taurua stressed it was going to take time to implement her philosophies and strategies and develop combinations. Regaining respectability after April’s disastrous showing at the Commonwealth Games, where they finished fourth and failed to medal for the first time, would take time.
As long as the Ferns were growing with each game, Taurua said they would be taking steps in the right direction.
Noeline Taurua is pleased with the progress from the Silver Ferns, but says they need to learn how to grind out wins in the fourth quarter.