Former basketballer Gretel Tippett has helped Australia wrap up the four-nations netball Quad Series with a 60-55 win over New Zealand at Melbourne Arena.
The Diamonds completed a clean sweep to finish ahead of England, New Zealand and South Africa and underline their status as the world No.1 side.
Intensity: Gretel Tippett beats her opponent to the ball in a stellar performance for the Diamonds.
In the earlier match on Sunday, England came from behind to edge South Africa 45-42.
Tippett only took up netball as an 18-year-old when, after a bout of glandular fever, she was looking to improve her fitness as she returned to the WNBL.
In her first start of the series, replacing injured goal attack Stephanie Wood, Tippett showed her athleticism to form a strong combination in the circle with Diamonds captain Caitlin Bassett.
The younger sister of former AFL star Kurt Tippett, the 25-year-old shot at 100 per cent to finish with 14 goals while Bassett led the scoring for the home team with 46 goals from 50 attempts.
Australian coach Lisa Alexander was happy with Tippett's contribution but felt she could have added even more goals.
"Overall she's improving but in the last quarter I would have liked her to have shot more," Alexander said.
"You can see the special things she can do so it's important for us not to put a lid on what we can create when she's playing goal attack because I think we can change netball a little bit more."
While the Australians led at every break, the Silver Ferns showed they were back on track under new coach Noeline Taurua after just three weeks in the role.
The teams went almost point for point in the opening quarter before the Diamonds broke away for a five-goal margin.
They maintained that lead at halftime despite the best efforts of New Zealand goal attack Maria Folau, who had her best game of the series.
Teenage goal shooter Aliyah Dunn chimed in with 10 goals from 10 attempts off the bench in the final quarter while veteran midcourter Laura Langman looked sharp after returning to the New Zealand team after a two-year absence.
Neck and neck: Maria Folau and the Silver Ferns threatened the Aussies throughout.
Australian goal keeper Courtney Bruce also continued her strong form, earning her second MVP award of the series.
The lead went out to a game-high 10 early in the final quarter but the Diamonds struggled to put their opponents away and the Kiwis cut that margin in half with two minutes to play.
The Australians held on but there were definite signs their long-standing rivalry has resumed.
"Nothing is pretty at the moment and nothing is seamless but the group is building well and we will continue to do that over the next 12 months leading into the World Cup," Alexander said.
Taurua was pleased with the progress of her team and looked forward to their next tussle with Australia in the Constellation Cup starting next month.
"Overall I'm quite happy as I felt we have improved since our last game," Taurua said.
"I'd like to improve our physicality a wee bit but overall I thought it was as great fight and there were definite improvements since our last game against South Africa."
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