Netball: Dame Noeline Taurua rues Silver Ferns' inability to close out games after Quad Series final loss to Australia

It was another case of close, but not close enough for the Silver Ferns in their Quad Series final against Australia on Thursday (NZ time).

Just three days after prevailing over the New Zealanders in group play, the Aussies withstood a furious start from the world champions to power home down the stretch to seal a 56-50 win, securing the series silverware for a seventh time in eight tournaments.

Once again, the Ferns' strong start - pouring in 19 goals in the first quarter - gave way to some uncharacteristic errors in the face of an increasingly resolute Diamonds defence.

Seven turnovers in the third quarter saw the Australians quickly erase their deficit and seize the momentum, keeping the Kiwis at arm's length down the stretch to earn their fourth straight win over their nemeses dating back to last year's Constellation Cup.

Coach Dame Noeline Taurua rued her team's inability to capitalise on another convincing start.

"It was a great first half ," said Dame Noeline after the game. "Really disciplined and controlled.

Had some really good movement in our attacking end and obviously turned over some ball and we were able to take it through. That's a good tick.

"In attack, I think we got a wee bit stagnant again.

"Once again there are lessons to be learned. There are shifts that have been made but also there's stuff that we still need to nail down, but that's what it's all about.

"The best team won."

Australia celebrate their Quad Series win.
Australia celebrate their Quad Series win. Photo credit: Getty

Goal shoot markswoman Grace Nweke - who converted 39/45 attempts during a relatively difficult outing inside the circle - echoed her coach's sentiments.

"I'd say these past couple of games we have started strongly but it's just about being able to hold on to that intensity throughout the quarters," said Nweke, who was named the best player and shooter of the tournament.

"You come out of quarter time and the momentum shifts a bit, and sometimes we're just not there in those final moments when we need to be hustling for that ball or really taking our feet through, and it's costing us."

The Ferns continued to lean heavily on their prodigious shooter Nweke, who played every minute of every match of the series. None of the NZ substitutes were called upon by Dame Noeline, who stuck with her starting seven the entire contest.

Nweke shouldered a heavy attacking load, with cohort Ameliaranne Ekenasio attempting (and nailing) just 11 attempts compared to her 45.

That trend can't continue if the Ferns are to defend their World Cup trophy in July, Dame Noeline conceded.

"It does become quite predictable… Grace is put under a lot of pressure when there's no other option," she said.

"That's definitely an area where we were exposed and an area we need to get better, so that we're not overloading her."

The Ferns were imperious defensively against England on Wednesday but couldn't translate that to court in the showpiece game, as Dame Noeline identified a costly lack of movement and proactivity at both ends of the court and inability to string quality performances together on consecutive days.

Despite the result, she was adamant her side would benefit hugely from the opportunity to face their old adversaries at the very venue that will host the World Cup final in around six months time, having had a chance to test some of her lesser experienced players under pressure.

"I'm actually really happy that we got into the grand final. I know it's always a big fight and for us to play that game against England was massive.

"Once again our ability to back up and still attack the ball is eluding us and that's an area I know we need to work on prior to the World Cup.

"But Australia are masters of what they do and definitely there's a lot we can learn from them."