Two-time Australian world champion Catherine Cox has pondered whether the effects of two weeks of quarantine behind the diamonds could be alarming’ ‘Surrender in Saturday’s third test defeat of the Constellation Cup against the Silver Ferns

Australia took a five point lead at halftime and a two point lead after the third quarter and lost six points to Dame Noeline Taurua’s New Zealanders in Christchurch

The Diamonds will now have to beat the Silver Ferns by two goals in the fourth Test in Christchurch on Sunday to keep the Constellation Cup for a ninth year

Cox wondered if fitness was an issue for the Australians after they were forced to spend 14 days in quarantine in New Zealand prior to the series

READ MORE: * Constellation Cup: Silver Ferns know that after their third win, the job is only half done * Constellation Cup: The command of the second half brings Silver Ferns to victory and a 2-1 lead * Constellation Cup: Australia defeated sloppy Silver Ferns in second place Test

Cox, a veteran television commentator, said on Channel Nine coverage that aired in Australia that the Diamonds’ second-half fights “were a copy of Game 2 [when Australia won the last two periods despite winning the game at 11am Lost points, 45 -36]

“That would have been in your head [in the third test] and the whole discussion would have been about having to prevail in this second half, if it really mattered. You lost the second half by 11, so there is in this one Game to see a lot

“It feels like it’s match fitness to me because they are so good in this first half. For me, it’s likely that at some point I’ll be in quarantine and have no match training before the game ”

Emma Greenwood, who wrote in The Daily Telegraph, also wondered if the diamonds were hampered by their restricted build-up

“The Diamonds are playing their first series since 2019 and after two weeks of hotel quarantine they are lacking match practice and their late fade was reminiscent of the second game despite winning a win on that occasion,” she said

Australian captain Liz Watson insisted in a television interview after the game that fitness is not a factor

“We have a big squad and we’re 18 here so it’s just our flaws and basics,” she said

“New Zealand did a great job, they put us under pressure and knew what we hate to play against, what that fast move is and they flipped it”

Australian media reported that the crown of the Diamonds’ Constellation Cup with the silver ferns looked shaky and had won the trophy for the first time since 2012

Sarah Keoghan praised the Silver Ferns resurgence in the second half in the Sydney Morning Herald “The Diamonds were clinical in the first half but faded after the main hiatus. It was enough to give New Zealand what a stunning comeback it was needed ”

Greenwood noted in The Daily Telegraph that the Kiwis would have a secret weapon for the series-defining fourth test – a 2,500-strong crowd at the Christchurch Arena

“The first three games were played in front of a handful of Silver Ferns family and friends, but as a bonus for both teams, fans are welcomed to Sunday’s final test,” wrote Greenwood

“With the series on the line, audiences will be another challenge for the Diamonds as they try to win their ninth Constellation Cup trophy in a row”

Constellation Cup

World news – AU – Constellation Cup: Catherine Cox questions Australia’s fitness after losing to Silver Ferns