Final score: NZ 49 AUS 44 [Live coverage has concluded]
Silver Ferns 49 (Wilson 31/40, Ekenasio 18/23) bt Australia 44 (Bassett 19/21, Austin 18/24, Koenen 7/7)
Wrap - Very good 60mins of netball. The Ferns had periods of dominance, but also let Australia back in on a couple of occasions so I'm sure Dame Noeline Taurua will want more from her side tomorrow night.
4Q 00:01 - Wilson shoots and lands - but the umpires rule it was after the whistle and the Ferns win by five goals.
4Q 1:30 - Austin sinks another for the Aussies - she is super impressive and Australia are within six goals.
4Q 2:13 - Burger back on as Watson leaves the court.
4Q 3:30 - Crampton and Burger off - Fitzpatrick and Souness on. Ferns lead by seven.
4Q 4:30 - 6-2 run for the Aussies in this quarter.
4Q 8:00 - Game getting a little scrappy - both sets of players guilty of slack ball retention.
4Q 10:30 - Ekenasio pulls ion a rocket pass from Kirsten for another Ferns goal.
4Q 12:00 - Crampton with a nice feed into Ekenasio for another Ferns goal.
4Q 13:30 - Early turnover won by the Aussie defence and they turn it into points. 2-1 run to start the quarter.
4Q 14:30 - No changes for the Ferns. A couple debutants on for the Aussies. Ferns with the ball and it's Ekenasio to Wilson for a goal.
3rd quarter: Just the one change so far from Dame Noels - replacing Fitzpatrick for Burger midway through the last quarter. She looks to be happy in the huddle - asking for a bit more direct play.
3Q - 0:10 - Ferns with the final attack of the frame and the Wilson has another to lead by nine.
3Q 1:40 - The lead is back to eight goals as Wilson sinks from distance.
3Q 3:20 - Australia lead the quarter 10-8 as Wilson and Ekenasio combine again for a goal.
3Q 5:00 - Burger with two turnovers already, but again the Ferns are wasteful as Wilson throws an ugly pass cross court.
3Q 6:40 - Karin Burger on for Fitzpatrick at GK. Ferns looking a little wasteful at the moment - the Aussies have come back well in the last few minutes.
3Q 8:20 - 3-0 run for the Diamonds - and they win another turnover as the Ferns shut off. Bruce has been excellent on defence for the Aussies. That run is now 5-0.
3Q 9:30 - All the Silver Ferns at the moment - the Diamonds looking rough tonight.
3Q 12:00 - Ekenasio with another and the Ferns lead by nine.
3Q 14:30 - Ferns have the ball first and Ekenasio gets the opening goal.
Start of 3rd quarter - Sulu Fitzpatrick, Maia Wilson and Sam Winders all very good in he first half for the Ferns.
8:01pm - Just about set for the second half - decent lead for the world champs.
End of 2nd quarter
2Q 00:30 - Wilson shooting at close to 80 percent - Ferns lead by six as time runs down - Wilson sinks another.
2Q 3:50 - Bassett misses from under the hope and the Ferns have a chnace to extend to seven goals ... Ekenasio does just that.
2Q 5:30 - Ekenasio and Wilson are working like a dream in the circle for the Kiwis - very slick. 3-0 run for the Ferns.
2Q 8:40 - Very noticeable that the Ferns are comfortable playing will the ball - the Aussies looking to shift the ball quickly when they are on attack, but it's very different when NZ has the ball.
2Q 10:31 - 4-0 run for the Ferns. Wilson sinks her 12th of the day as NZ extebd their lead to five goals.
2Q 12:50 - 2-0 start for Australia to to start - Ferns look a little ragged, but Wilson lands nicely from distance to put the Ferns on the board.
2Q 14:30 - Ferns have the ball to open the second frame - but Wilson is pinged for contact and the Aussies get possession.
End of 1st quarter - A late basket for the Aussies to reduce the gap to four.
1Q 2:00 - Messy at the moment as both sides exchange turnovers - Ekenasio calms thing down with a lovely shot.
1Q 4:05 - 3-0 run for the Aussies.
1Q 5:15 - Turnover won for Australia and they have the chance tp get one back.
1Q 7:00 - Winders wins another turnover for the Ferns and they head off up court - Wilson sinks another and that's a 5-0 run for the Kiwis.
1Q 8:00 - And Wilson lands a gain as the Ferns get the first 'break' of the match.
1Q 10:06 - Ferns win a turnover but Ekenasio can't land her shot - Bassett nails it down the other end.
1Q 11:35 - Wilson looking super confident under the hoop, but on centre pass at this point.
1Q 13:30 - Both side exchange early goals. A ton of penalties called early doors as Wilson sinks her first of the night.
7:15pm - Almost set for a start here in Christchurch.
7:10pm - Both squads are out on court for the anthems.
Australian Diamonds: GK-Courtney Bruce, GD-Joanna Weston, WD-Gabrielle Simpson, WA-Liz Watson, C-Kate Moloney, GA-Kiera Austin, GS-Caitlin Bassett
Silver Ferns: GK-Sulu Fitzpatrick, GD-Jane Watson, WD-Samantha Winders, WA-Gina Crampton, C-Claire Kirsten, GA-Ameliaranne Ekenasio, GS-Maia Wilson
6:32PM - Both coaches have named their starting sevens.
Hello folks and welcome to Newshub's rolling coverage of the first match in the Constellation Cup, between the New Zealand Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds.
All four matches will be played at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch, due to the recently enforced COVID-19 alert level changes.
Both sides are at near full strength for the series, with the NZ coach Noeline Taurua laying down the gauntlet to several players in her wider squad, who have not been selected because of poor fitness levels.
Taurua earlier on Tuesday announced her 12-strong team for the first match.
SILVER FERNS SQUAD
Ameliaranne Ekenasio (c), Monica Falkner, Bailey Mes, Maia Wilson
Gina Crampton, Claire Kersten, Shannon Saunders, Whitney Souness, Samantha Winders
Karin Burger, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Jane Watson
TAB odds: Silver Ferns $1.55, Australian Diamonds $2.30
NZ Netball to bear finnacial strain of crowdless Aussie series
Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie admits her heart sank a little on Saturday night when the realisation came that no fans would be allowed to watch the long-anticipated Constellation Cup.
"We were just so looking forward to being able to get those Ferns out playing in front of their fans more so than anything else but after that, it kind of kicked into action around how do we put our contingency plans into place," Wyllie said.
Netball New Zealand announced today that all four tests between the Silver Ferns and Australian Diamonds will be played in Christchurch, closed to the general public, as a result of COVID-19.
"Ultimately keeping the teams in one location that we can control the environment that they're in made sense. And the Diamonds are travelling out of Christchurch into Australia so if we could limit the amount of travel, given they were leaving from Christchurch anyway was also quite favourable," Wyllie said.
Wyllie has spent quite a bit of time over the phone with her counterpart in Australia.
"I think I interrupted most of his Sunday ...we've been in close contact throughout this series. As you can imagine he was looking for some reassurance because whilst it's only Australia it might feel quite a long way away for them when it's their team and management."
The lack of revenue from ticket sales will come at a cost for Netball New Zealand but it's not as bad as it could have been.
When the England Roses played a series in New Zealand last year, their quarantine costs were covered in full by Netball New Zealand. At around $7000 per person, it didn't come cheap.
But Netball Australia is sharing costs with Netball New Zealand for this series.
"That's something that we really acknowledge them for as well and it's been a really important factor for our relationships with Netball Australia to be working through that kind of thing as well.
"Sharing of the costing is pretty much 50:50 ...it's a significant outlay. But it has been 18 months since the Diamonds have been on court and this is really important for them and ourselves in our preparations for 2023 [World Cup] so these are the choices that we make in these uncertain times."
Gina Crampton in action Photo credit: Getty
NZ skipper Ameliaranne Ekenasio Photo credit: Photosport
Just how much money the organisation will lose from tickets sales is to be determined.
"That's a piece of work that we're currently just assembling but I can tell you it's not an insignificant amount of money for us as a women's sport. But it's one of those things that we were aware of being a risk as we went into this and unfortunately this is the way the cards have fallen for us. As a relatively lean sport, it is a material amount for us."
Netball New Zealand was hoping to break even after the Roses tour; with the Constellation Cup, they were expecting to make some money.
"These MIQ costs are always one of those things that we needed to be able to mitigate any financial impact. We had forecast to be in the positive and to be able to put that aside and continue building knowing it is uncertain whether there will be borders open later in the year when we traditionally play netball. So we do need to be able to plan for that and unfortunately given we are unable to be able to have fans there it will result in a loss for us."
Despite that, Wyllie is pretty confident they won't have to cut back any domestic competitions this year.
"We're pretty committed to ensuring that we don't have to keep cutting into the muscle of our domestic netball. I think we saw in 2020 there was a need for that to preserve the sport but there are long-term consequences if we don't play secondary schools and age groups and similar events like that so all of these things need to be weighed up."
She said it had helped that Netball New Zealand had been conservative and planned for contingencies.
"We would really be reluctant to go down a track of cancelling events but again COVID sometimes takes that out of our hands as well. At this point in time, we intend to play a full calendar this year both internationally and domestically."