Joy and drama in Adelaide
The Trans Tasman Cup for the 20 & Under division will come down to a deciding match on Saturday after Australia clinched a 41-39 victory in another scintillating contest.
Both sides tweaked their starting line-ups from the first test, but it was the Aussies who had the better of the opening half with Manawa Aranui and Taylor Fraser combining for 82% accuracy, compared to 64% for New Zealand.
A 5-1 start to the third quarter brought the Kiwis back into the match, before levelling the scores at 28-all with five minutes remaining in the term.
After trading goals for the majority of the final quarter, Australia were able to keep the tourists at bay in the nerve-wracking final minutes.
Australia’s Mixed Open side have claimed the Trans Tasman Cup for the first time since 2013, with 63-46 win in the second test giving them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
It was a more measured New Zealand for the most part, with small ebbs and flows across the game until the last quarter where the home side put their foot down.
Australia again held an 11-goal advantage after a 14-all third term, but pushed forward to close out the game despite the Kiwis looking far more confident for the most part.
Australian coach Kristie Leahy opted for a conservative approach, making just one change across the match, as the win ensured the Cup would be held on home soil.
Michael Solomon was again strong under the post, netting 29 first-half goals on his way to a game-high 55 at 85% accuracy.
20 & UNDER
Australia 41 def New Zealand 39
(11-9, 23-16, 30-29, 41-39)
Aranui 14/15 93%
Fraser 22/32 69%
Hoogwerf 5/5 100%
Watene-Ka 33/40 83%
Te Kaawa 2/4 50%
Reid 0/1 0%
C. Vercoe 4/7 57%
Starting line ups
GA Te Kaawa
WA C. Vercoe
C J. Vercoe
Australia 63 def New Zealand 46
(17-13, 32-21, 46-35, 63-46)
Solomon 55/65 85%
Billings 8/11 73%
Overton 18/23 78%
Naoupu 28/32 88%
Starting line ups