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Diamonds beat NZ in Fast 5s netball

NZN 29/10/2016 Samantha Sonogan

Australia has survived an incredible assault from New Zealand sharp shooter Maria Tutaia on their way to an exciting 32-29 victory in Fast 5s netball at Hisense Arena in Melbourne on Saturday.

Tutaia turned and shot three consecutive long bomb goals for 18 points in just two minutes in the third quarter power play to nullify Australia's early lead and propel her side from trailing 16-9 to a 27-20 lead.

Australia went into the final quarter - and their power play - trailing by seven points.

Diamonds shooter Erin Bell slotted two goals for eight points and Caitlin Thwaites one from the "pink zone" for four points during the home side's power play to lift the Aussies to 32-29 in front.

Needing three points for a draw, Tutaia twice had attempts at goal to steal the match but her luck from more than five metres out ran out in the dying minutes.

"Dad always says, don't waste time passing to the other shooter, so why not (take the shot)," Tutaia said.

Diamonds captain Susan Pettitt said she was happy her side recovered from a slow start to progress into Day 2 undefeated.

"It was a good game and it was a close one with Maria shooting three six pointers, that hurt, but I think the girls played really well.

"Our shooters were shooting really well as well so coming into our power play that we could nail some four pointers.

"This game is so unpredictable, you just don't know what to expect."

Earlier, Australia recovered from an opening match scare against Malawi to win 24-23, before toppling Jamaica 35-19, thanks to a 16-point haul from Caitlin Thwaites.

Also on Day 1, defending champions New Zealand survived to hang on 36-35 in a tight game against England before bouncing back to thump South Africa 49-20.

And South Africa sank a three-pointer on the buzzer to draw 29-all with England after earlier being upset by Jamaica 35-32.

On Sunday, Australia play England and then South Africa in pool games before the finals where 5th plays 6th, 3rd takes on 4th, and 1st locks horns with 2nd for the title.

The Diamonds are vying become holders of all four international tournaments and have never won the Fast 5s World Series.

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