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Diamonds outshine South Africa 62-43 in first Test in Cairns

Sophie Dwyer was a reliable target for the Diamonds in the first Test against South Africa in Cairns on Wednesday.

Sophie Dwyer was a reliable target for the Diamonds in the first Test against South Africa in Cairns on Wednesday. Photo: Getty

Australia has bounced back from successive Constellation Cup losses and a quick turnaround to score a 62-43 win over South Africa in Cairns.

Just two days after their loss to the Silver Ferns in New Zealand, the world champions won every quarter in the first match of their three-game series.

Seven straight goals in the first quarter and six in a row in the last proved to be the Diamonds’ two big scoring surges.

Given the short turnaround between matches, Diamonds coach Stacey Marinkovich opted to make multiple changes to her starting side on Wednesday.

Among those rested were captain and midcourt general Liz Watson and dominant goalkeeper Courtney Bruce, though the former came on  for the final quarter.

Bruce’s replacement Sarah Klau produced a player-of-the-match performance, with Thunderbirds Super Netball title-winning defender Matilda Garrett making her Diamonds debut after being brought on for the second half.

She quickly made an impression with some gains and intercepts and supplemented the impressive Klau, with wing defence Amy Parmenter  also strong.

Shooters Sophie Garbin (31/35) and Sophie Dwyer (15/18) proved reliable targets through the first three quarters, while Donnell Wallam  and Cara Koenen maintained the consistency when they came on for the final period.

Australia shot at 86 per cent but turned over the ball 19 times, though their pressure forced South Africa into 25 of their own with the Proteas also incurring many more penalties than the hosts.

South Africa scored the first two goals but trailed by eight, 10 and 14 at the end of the first three quarters.

The series continues with matches in Hobart next Sunday and Tuesday.

-AAP

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