One of the most popular sports throughout the Commonwealth, netball consistently delivers highlights and power plays for sports fans in Australia. When it comes to the elite level of netball in Oz, the national team's trans-Tasman rivalry with the New Zealand national team is potentially one of the most heralded rivalries in netball, if not all sports. Learning about this iconic rivalry is a great introduction to the sport before purchasing netball gear, sportswear, and accessories on eBay.
Evenly matched teams
Trans-Tasman rivalries are nothing new to Australian sports fans. Be it in cricket or rugby, these two nations are always facing off in exciting showdowns. In all other sports, however, one side tends to show dominance. In the world of rugby, the Australian-New Zealand rivalry has a win disparity that reaches over 60 games, while a match disparity nearing 20 separates the two squads. When it comes to netball, however, the Diamonds and the Silver Ferns exchange wins regularly. In fact, out of over 100 matchups, only a handful of wins separate the two teams.
While the overall win statistics for each team are tense enough, each matchup tends to be a complete nail biter. In fact, time and time again these remarkable games result in a single-point win by one team or the other. Over fifty per cent of the games fought between these two epic rivals have been won by less than five points, moreover. The fact that these teams are so evenly matched on every level makes this rivalry even more exciting for many fans.
Diamonds dominate in big games
Games throughout the season tend to be closely matched, but Australia's Diamonds do earn some dominance in high-stakes matchups. Out of 13 international championships between 2000 and 20013, Australia claimed a whopping 11 championship titles total. On the other hand, the Silver Ferns fight back at the Commonwealth Games, where they have earned multiple gold medals in the sport.
Constellation Cup showdowns
The Constellation Cup is one of the most coveted wins for both of these teams and underscores how heated their rivalry is each year. In fact, the Cup came about as a way to highlight this tense and much followed rivalry. Every year, the Cup goes to the team who wins the most test matches, not including any Commonwealth or Netball World Championships. Since it started in 2010, the Diamonds have dominated, with New Zealand cutting the streak in two in 2012.
A rivalry that defines netball on an international level
While several other rivalries pop up in netball on a regional level, as is the case with the Adelaide Thunderbirds and the Melbourne Vixens or New Zealand's Magic and the NSW Swifts, the rivalry between the Diamonds and the Silver Ferns dominates all discussion of the sport at the international level.
Ironically, while the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand gets netball on the radar of many outside the Commonwealth, it may also hold the sport back in some ways. Advocates of the sport have been trying for years to get the sport into the Olympics to no avail. To some fans of the game, the dominance of the Australian and New Zealand teams is actually a deterrent to getting netball in the international competition.
While these teams prove again and again that they are an even match for number one, they also demonstrate again and again that they far outpace other national teams around the world. As commentators such as Ron Reed at the Herald Sun point out, since the Olympics prioritise sports with an even "playing field" around the world, this epic rivalry may be a drag on the sport's international presence and Olympic potential.
How to buy netball gear and memorabilia on eBay
Fans of netball on either the Australian or the New Zealand side have a great resource on eBay when it comes to gear and memorabilia. To find netball products on eBay, look for the search bar on any page on the site and run a keyword search. You can keep a term general or run a search for a specific term such as "Diamonds netball".
Netball is one of the most fast-paced and exciting games on the planet, with few rivalries presenting as many highlights as the one between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns. With its close matches and international struggle for dominance, this rivalry may well be one of the best in sports.