Maria Tutaia's ability to score from distance has helped defending champions New Zealand to a 56-27 win over Australia in the Fast5 netball final.
Source:
AAP
10 Nov 2013 - 3:23 PM  UPDATED 10 Nov 2013 - 8:16 PM

New Zealand's superb long-range shooting lifted them to a second successive Fast5 netball world series title with a 56-27 win over Australia in the final in Auckland on Sunday.

A tight, tense contest was broken open in the third quarter when New Zealand took their power play, which meant all goals - from the one, two or three-point zone - were worth double.

The Ferns took advantage by nailing five six-pointers, with Maria Tutaia getting three and Cathrine Latu two.

New Zealand won the six-minute quarter 34-7 to blow the score out to 49-19.

Tutaia ended the match shooting at six from eight from deep.

She finished the tournament as by far the most prolific scorer from three-point, or "super shot", territory, draining 25 attempts in her seven matches.

That compared with last year's best tally of 18 by England's Jo Harten.

Ironically, New Zealand were unable to land any super shots during their semi-final against South Africa, and their 27-14 victory was built on suffocating defence.

Skipper Casey Kopua, with her intercepts and rebounds, led the defensive effort against the Proteas, who were unable to score a single point during their power play.

Of her shooters' response in the title decider, Kopua said: "That was awesome.

"We said to the attackers `we did our job in the semi, you have to do your job in the final', and that's sort of what worked out."

Jamaica took bronze with a 44-17 win over South Africa, who were a player down on their interchange with defender Vanes-Mari du Toit injured.

Malawi beat England 34-32 in the fifth/sixth play-off.

New Zealand have now won four of the five tournaments since netball's shortened version began with Fastnet in 2009 and evolved to Fast5 last year.

For Australia, whose best finish is third, their latest result is a marked improvement from their bottom placing 12 months ago.

Unlike New Zealand, who were stacked with Silver Ferns, the Flyers' squad featured plenty of uncapped players.

"Last year, we didn't win a game," co-skipper Susan Pratley said.

"To get to the final - we've got to hold our heads up for that."

Pratley, who was playing in her first Fast5 tournament, agreed that New Zealand's power play had proved decisive.

"At half-time, we were still in it," the Australian Diamonds shooter said.

"In the third quarter, it just blew us out of the water when they hit a six and they hit five of them.

Pratley said it meant that, when it came to their own power play in the final quarter, the Flyers had to push for three-pointers even when not in the best spot for the attempt.