Netball World Cup 2019: Silver Ferns lose thriller to Australia

The Silver Ferns have come up just short of a mighty comeback against Australia, going down 50-49 at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool. 

Trailing by eight goals in the third quarter, the Ferns fought back to level the match, before Australian captain Caitlin Bassett sank a goal to hand Australia the advantage.

In the final seconds, shooter Maria Folau had a chance to claw back a draw for New Zealand, but her shot fell short and the Diamonds were able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Controversial husband Israel Folau was in the stadium to watch the match. 

The Australia shooters enjoyed a slight edge over their counterparts, with Bassett converting 37/41 and the Diamonds 50/57 (90 percent) as a team. Folau lead the Ferns with 21/24, who shot 49/58 (64.5 percent) collectively.

But New Zealand won the third and fourth quarters, and outscored their rivals over the final three, capitalising on a 76-58 penalty count and 23-20 turnover count against the Aussies.  

Both sides had already secured semi-final places before the trans-Tasman clash and must now wait to find out who their opponents will be. The Ferns will face England in the semi-finals on Sunday morning after the host nation beat South Africa 58-47 on Friday. 

The Proteas will face Australia in the other semi. 

Despite the loss, Ferns coach Noeline Taurua was pleased with what she saw. 

"This is what it's all about - I love games like that," said Taurua. "It's good to get a taste for that sort of pressure and those challenges.

"We've still got a bit to go to keep up and put in a dominant performance, but it's a great start. We did need it, we've learned a lot before the semi-final.

"It's do-or-die now, whether you get through to gold-medal contention. It's great for us to have that under our belt."