NS Scoreboard: Trans-Tasman Cup Game 3

NS Scoreboard: Trans-Tasman Cup Game 3

By |2022-10-20T01:56:49+10:00October 20th, 2022|Categories: AUS, Men's Netball, NZ|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Australia 61 def New Zealand 57 (17-16, 19-13, 14-16, 11-12)


It was an emotionally charged day for men’s netball as Australia took out the Trans Tasman Cup, two games to one. For the first time ever, the men played in a televised series alongside the national women’s sides, showcasing their rivalry, flair and athleticism in a stunning final game. Post match celebrations showed just how much the opportunity meant to all concerned, and while Australia lifted the trophy, there were two winning sides out on court.


The televised men’s series was a proud occasion for Australia and New Zealand. Australia’s Jerome Gillbard and New Zealand’s Tim Apisai after the game. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


Coming into the match, and with the series on the line, there were two clear game plans on display – Australia’s short, sharp movement utilising a rotating circle, versus a longer game by New Zealand that relied on finding Junior Levi under the post.

With the game played at ferocious speed, Australia jumped out of the blocks, and despite numerous challenges from New Zealand, maintained a buffer to eventually win by four goals.

There were stars all over the court, but none better than Australian MVP Jerome Gillbard, who scored 40/41 (97.6%). Taking control as his side’s strike shooter, all of Gillbard’s smarts were on display. From clearing the circle, giving Brodie Roberts room to drive along the baseline, to popping out between New Zealand defenders, it was a clever and controlled performance.

Roberts (21/28) and Gillbard worked in perfect symmetry, rotating the circle, screening for each other, and delivering some short, shooter to shooter passes to set up better position under the post.


Brodie Roberts movement along the baseline troubled New Zealand’s defenders, including the featured Matt Wetere and Tim Apisai. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


The pair were tested by New Zealand’s defensive combination of goal keeper Tim Apisai, who originally hadn’t planned to travel across the ditch, and Daniel Rich. Collectively they had slightly less impact than in game 2, but combined for seven gains in a partnership that will continue to reap rewards with more time together.

However, it was the lift in intensity right throughout court that set up Australia’s success, typified by Dylan McPherson’s desperate scramble to keep the ball in play right on half time, resulting in a goal after the buzzer. The centre (34 feeds) combined with wing attack Riley Richardson (46 feeds) to provide sterling service to their shooters. Both were crisp in attack, punching on and off the circle, with Richardson’s drive into the pocket particularly difficult for opponent Jake Schuster to stop.


Dylan McPherson scrambling for the ball, as Jake Schuster attempts to spoil. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


Riley Richardson had a fine game at wing attack and centre. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


Australian coach Nerida Stewart continued to give court time to all her athletes, starting Daniel Cools (goal defence) and Dravyn Lee-Tauroa (goal keeper) at the opposite end of the court. The defenders did their best to stem the tide of ball into Junior Levi, showing the benefits of working together as West Coast Fever training partners, covering each other as they switched around their players in an attempt to shut down space.

New Zealand were missing captain and centre Kruze Tangira, who stayed at home, and his absence was noticeable. Instead of a more measured pathway into goal, the New Zealand feeders were guilty of lofting too many long balls into Levi, who gave away eight costly turnovers as a result of the misplacements. However, when Levi did get his hands on the ball he was unstoppable, and the highest scorer on court with 48/51 (94%).

Wing attack was particularly problematic for New Zealand, with the shorter Cam Powell, and Eriata Vercoe both troubled at times by the close marking attention of Australian captain Dylan Nexhip. Acting captain Matt Wetere once again showed his versatility, switching from goal attack, with his essential link into the circle, to goal defence, in an attempt to stem Australia’s dominance.


Australian captain Dylan Nexhip closely checked Cam Powell (featured) and Eriata Vercoe throughout the game. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


While New Zealand continued to ring the changes throughout the match, Australia stuck with their starting line up for the first three quarters. They made a raft of changes in the final term, with Eugene Lee, Taylor Glassie and Alastair Punshon all taking the court. The changes took a little while to settle, as New Zealand narrowed the margin and fans scented the possibility of an upset.

However, Lee-Tauroa who’d stunned onlookers all game with his ability to get up to the high ball, pulled in two intercepts late in the game to help Australia over the line.

After such a resoundingly successful series, it’s to be hoped that men’s netball will continue to be featured on our screens, while the ongoing rivalry between the two nations looks set to be every bit as epic as the women.


New Zealand’s Junior Levi staying strong under pressure from Dravyn Lee-Tauroa and Daniel Cools. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix


Dravyn Lee-Tauroa and Junior Levi had a titanic battle during the match. Image May Bailey l Clusterpix

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About the Author:

Physiotherapist, writer and netball enthusiast. Feature articles, editorials and co-author of "Shine: the making of the Australian Netball Diamonds". Everyone has a story to tell, and I'm privileged to put some of them on paper. Thank you to the phenomenal athletes, coaches and people in the netball world who open a door to their lives, and let me tiptoe in.
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