The Silver Ferns got pudding on Sunday night. That was about as wild and crazy as their celebrations got, after beating two-time defending World Cup champions Australia 52-47 at Allphones Arena.
Tournament play precludes a big knees up, or even a beer in the sheds, like the boys from the rugby codes get. For New Zealand’s netball team it was a helping of ice-cream, then back to training on Monday, a pool session, and autographs and selfies at the Netball World Cup Fan Fest.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t still a dollop of quiet satisfaction in breaking a run of nine successive losses to the Diamonds.
“I think we made them quite angry, which I’m totally fine with,” Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant said.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how they bounce back. They’re playing England [on Tuesday] and we’re playing Jamaica and those games are going to be pretty interesting to watch.”
England and Jamaica met on Saturday, with the former winning 54-50. It didn’t appear to be a match played at quite the intensity of New Zealand v Australia the following day, although there weren’t 16,233 screaming fans in on Saturday.
Grant and the rest of the Silver Ferns seem very aware that virtually no one gave them a hope of beating the Diamonds. In fact, that is what’s fuelling them.
“There are a lot of things that have brought this team together and being resilient is definitely one of them, and one of the key attributes that we’ve got,” Grant said.
“We’ve had a lot to deal with and we’ve come in here with the underdog tag, which we’re totally fine with, and there’s been a lot of girls that have got some criticism and things and everyone has just taken it and rolled with it.”
There hadn’t been much in the warm-up matches against Fiji and South Africa, or in the early World Cup clashes with Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, to suggest that the Silver Ferns were on the cusp of upsetting Australia.
“But we all knew we could, because we could see what was happening inside training,” Grant said.
“We knew what would work and how far off we’d been from getting things to click. We’ve still got more to give as well, which is promising.
“Winning gives us more confidence going into other games, knowing we’re a good team and knowing we can play well against the best there is. Yeah, that gives us a bit of confidence.”
From an overall perspective, the tournament has been enhanced by Sunday’s result. A faultless Australian procession to the title would still have been greeted warmly by local fans, but there’s a definite feeling that interest in the World Cup is far keener thanks to New Zealand’s performance.
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