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FAST5 Ferns closer to Netball World Series final

The FAST5 Ferns have edged closer to a finals berth at the FAST5 Netball World Series with a come from behind victory over South Africa, winning 41-33.

Led by a stand out defensive performance, the Ferns came from three points down in the first half to clinch the win – their third in round robin play and defender Kate Burley, who grabbed five intercepts in the match, said they needed to maintain that intensity ahead of a must-win game against Jamaica.

“We just wanted to come out with a lot of energy, and we play a very exciting and fun and fast game individually, so we wanted to bring that together and highlight our strengths and I think it’s working,” she said. 

“At the end of the day we want to hunt ball and have some fun and I think we did that.”

Coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek went with the strong defensive pairing of Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and Burley while Georgia Heffernan joined Grace Nweke in the shooting circle.

Two clean intercepts from Burley mid-way through the first spell brought the Kiwi crowd into the game but South Africa’s defensive pressure and accuracy in the shooting circle kept the green team front.

Amorangi Malesala closed the gap to one with a power play shot but again South Africa edged ahead with four points of their own to lead 11-6 at the first break.

Both Tayla Earle and Tiana Metuarau kept the defensive pressure on through the middle as the Ferns fought hard to again come within one.

Two-point shots from both Metuarau and Malesala gave the Ferns the lead with two minutes left in the half but six points from a super shot from Zandre Smit pushed the South Africans in front 23-20 at halftime.

In a tense third stanza, it was the Ferns defensive effort which again shone through as they edged ahead 30-27 with six minutes to play.

The FAST5 Ferns last round robin game is against Jamaica ahead of the World Netball Series play-offs.