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Silver Ferns on edge ahead of final Test

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/09/2016 Cathy Walshe
Laura Langman fights for the ball in the first test against Jamaica. © Getty Images Laura Langman fights for the ball in the first test against Jamaica.

If there was a bit of an edge at Silver Ferns training in Rotorua on Friday, it wasn't surprising.

Drained from only four days off in the last month, and playing their third game in six days, the New Zealanders are still desperate to finish their three-Test series against Jamaica on a high in Rotorua on Saturday.

There's a recognition they slipped a little from the slick performance which won the first match 72-34 in Nelson five days ago with Wednesday's 61-38 second Test victory in Palmerston North.

But more importantly, the Silver Ferns know they need to bed in their new combinations ahead of the four-match Constellation Cup series against Australia next month.

Coach Janine Southby was pleased to note a bit of tension in Friday's run.

"I know the girls were tired but they got out there on court, they made it sharp and there was a bit of edginess."

She says part of that comes from knowing the new-look Jamaican team will hold nothing back in the final match of the series.

"I expect they'll have a little bit of fire in their bellies because they saw they really challenged us at times the other night, and they'll want to finish the series well," Southby told NZ Newswire.

The Australian Diamonds form the other half of the equation, with the Silver Ferns eager to test themselves against the world champions following their 60-55 Quad Series loss two weeks ago in Melbourne.

Southby says it's important to get things right against Jamaica if her team are to win back the Constellation Cup they have held only once, in 2012.

"We really want to get clinical, we want to use this as as our hit-out towards Con Cup, because we don't have any more time together other than just a couple of days prior to that."

But before the Silver Ferns can switch their thinking in that direction, Southby wants to see them improve on their somewhat scrappy second-Test performance against Jamaica.

"It's about tidying up the loose bits from different times in that game," she said.

"That lack of finishing off at times, a bit of a stray pass here, or not quite the right ball there.

"Definitely we weren't doing our job to create ball for people down court. It's all those things we're still trying to build and embed - it's just finishing them off and executing them really well."

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