Ferns 'need to stay together': Grant

The gap between the Silver Ferns and Australia has progressively widened during the Constellation...
The gap between the Silver Ferns and Australia has progressively widened during the Constellation Cup. Photo: Getty Images
The Silver Ferns are self-destructing on the court, but skipper Katrina Grant is determined to ensure her side won't implode off it as the pressure mounts following another dismal Constellation Cup performance.

Questions are being asked of the culture in the New Zealand camp after they slumped to a 55-43 loss to a rookie Diamonds line-up in last night's third test in Adelaide.

The result saw Australia take a 3-0 lead in the four-test series, wrapping up the Constellation Cup for the fifth straight year.

With the scorelines across the series growing from four goals in last week's opener in Auckland, to eight in Christchurch, to 12 in the third test, the gap between the two sides appears to be widening with every outing.

The Ferns now head into this weekend's final test in Sydney staring down the barrel of a series whitewash for just the second time in the eight seasons the Constellation Cup has been in play.

Grant said Wednesday's "demoralising" performance in Adelaide needs to prompt some tough conversations and soul-searching in the team, but what the team can't allow to happen is the self-destructive blame game to set in.

"We know we need to stay together ... as soon as you split that's when things get worse and we can't have that. After the game we all came together and took responsibility for our role in it. We were disappointed with ourselves first and foremost and then how we performed as a team," the hard-working defender said.

"As a team you have to take the good together and you have to take the bad together and that's what we're doing now - it's the only the only way to learn."

After a series as disastrous as this Constellation Cup has been for the New Zealand side, there is a danger that in the lead-up to Saturday's final test in Sydney the Ferns mentally consign their season to the bin and focus on starting afresh in 2018.

Grant said with the Commonwealth Games less than six months away, it is crucial her side start putting things right this weekend.

"Absolutely [our fightback] has to start now. Four-nil is not how we want our season to finish up. We have a lot of pride in the black dress - I know people will be questioning that now - but we take it seriously and we are desperate to do everything we can this weekend," she said.

"The bigger picture of April is going to be a lot tougher if we don't sort it out now."

Not only is a strong performance in Sydney important in the context of restoring confidence to the young New Zealand side, the pressure is also on certain individuals to step up and deliver to ensure they remain in the selectors plans.

With players like Grace Rasmussen, Claire Kersten and a now-fit Michaela Sokolich-Beatson waiting in the wings, another capitulation this weekend could put spots in January's Quad Series tour to South Africa back up for grabs.

"Our place in the team are not set in stone and every single one of us need to step up if we're to make that team in April. We're all on trial, and that's why we all need to step up and show that we're actually good netball players when we work together," said Grant.

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