Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua is delighted with the her team's physicality during a historic win over NZ Men in the domestic quad series final.
Beaten by 13 goals in their first match-up two days ago, the Silver Ferns turned the tables to record their first-ever win over their male counterparts, with a 55-52 triumph in Palmerston North.
The Ferns held a seven-goal buffer in the fourth quarter, before the men battled back to level the match at 49-49, but Taurua's side showed their world champion class to secure victory.
Impressed with the way her side overcame their opponents' physical advantage, Taurua highlights that as a key factor in their famous win.
"To come out with the win as a bonus, but there was an improvement from yesterday [against NZ U21s], which is great," she says.
"We were able to take on the physicality of them and compete, so I'm pleased. It's one stage of the overall plan.
"It's a good start, but there are areas we can improve on."
The Ferns now have a few days to prepare for the opening match on their three-game Taini Jamison Trophy series against England, which starts on Wednesday in Hamilton.
"Once we consolidate the 12 and focus on our strategy, then that'll be easier [and] we'll be able to make another shift coming out of this," says Taurua. "We're feeling confident and feeling some success in what we do.
"One of the things I've learned is that they learn fast together and as a collective, they're strong.
"When I look back at our first camp, I've seen the progression. This is the ice cream on the cake, as we head into Tani Jamison."
NZ Men's netball captain Kruze Tangira has heaped praise on the Silver Ferns and feels they will claim a 3-0 series win over England.
"They can take it 3-0, there is no doubt in the players' mind that they'll beat England," says Tangira.
He added that the Silver Ferns win will only add to the rivalry between the two sides.
"It puts a good challenge out to us - we won the Cadbury series last year and in 2020, it has turned around like everyone else and this will create a lot more interest for netball in this country.
"It's hard to lose a game, regardless of who you play, but all respect to the Silver Ferns. They pushed us on attack and smothered us on defence, but there are lots of positives to take out of the game."
The NZ Men were originally scheduled to play the inaugural men's and mixed Netball World Cup in Perth this month, before COVID-19 postponed the tournament.
Tangira is unsure when it'll take place, but feels playing against the Ferns has motivated them to stay sharp for when the tournament does kick-off.
"It means a lot to play the Silver Ferns," he says. "Money can't buy that experience.
"We look up to these players, so to be out on [the] court with them is a fantastic opportunity for men's netball."
Join Newshub at 7pm Wednesday for live updates of the first Silver Ferns v England Roses