Aotearoa Men goal keep Victor Godsmark-White, centre, towers over Tiana Metuarau as he battles for the ball with Maia Wilson.
A late surge wasn’t enough to stop the Silver Ferns from suffering a loss in the final match of their three-match series against Aotearoa Men on Tuesday night.
Both sides made a string of changes to their starting sevens in Wellington, but it was the men’s select team which dictated terms until late with an enthusiastic 57-53 victory against a chiefly lacklustre performance from the world champs.
The Silver Ferns clinched the series on Monday night with a tense 59-58 win, after taking the opening game by an 11-point margin.
New Zealand coach Dame Noeline Taurua opted for her third different attacking combination in as many matches in the capital on Tuesday, with Maia Wilson at goal shoot and Tiana Metuarau at goal attack.
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* Skipper Gina Crampton, Tiana Metuarau return to Silver Ferns against Aotearoa Men
She was hoping to see production from a “moving circle” but the duo were regularly stifled by the height and athleticism of the Aotearoa Men’s goal keep Victor Godsmark-White.
Taurua made a change at halftime, replacing Wilson (who made only 20 of her 27 shots at goal) with teenager Grace Nweke, while Jamie Hume got a run late in the third quarter.
Not even a perfect shooting display from Jay Geldard could stop NZ from claiming an unbeatable 2-0 series lead.
At the other end, Jay Geldard continued his run as the dominant player of the series as he proved virtually unstoppable under the net.
Up against a Ferns defensive unit of Kelly Jury and Karin Burger, who were given a full workload throughout the series, Geldard – who had the perfect return from 44 shots in game two – made 51 of his 53 attempts.
Kate Heffernan also made a start at wing defence but had little impact as she was replaced at the major break by Claire Kersten, before Taurua experimented with a midcourt trio of Shannon Saunders (WA), Kersten (C) and Heffernan in the third quarter as the women’s side strove to make up a deficit that stretched to double figures late in the period.
The Ferns finally found a spark as they made a 9-0 run midway through the final period as their rivals began to show some fatigue but it wasn’t enough to give them a series sweep.
New Zealand 53 (Maia Wilson 20/27, Tiana Metuarau 17/23, Grace Nweke 16/20, Jamie Hume 0/1) lost to Aotearoa Men 57 (Jay Geldard 51/53, Ben Smith 6/9). 1Q 14-17, HT 27-31, 3Q 38-46. Silver Ferns win the series 2-1.
This article first show on www.stuff.co.nz Source link Author IAN ANDERSON on date 2021-10-12 07:44:57