Diamonds expect Ferns of old at World Cup

Australia aren't rubbing in their netball ascendancy over New Zealand this year, believing their traditional arch-rivals will be a force again at the next World Cup.

The Silver Ferns completed a horror year with Thursday's 58-47 loss in the final Constellation Cup Test in Wellington, taking a backward step after their stunning upset of the Diamonds four days earlier.

While Australia will finish the calendar year with just two losses from 17 Tests, New Zealand have lodged a national record 12 defeats from the same number of games.

Australia's five wins in trans-Tasman Tests has been by an average of 12 goals.

It all points to Commonwealth Games and world No.2 England being the major hurdle to clear when Caitlin Bassett's team aim to defend their world title in Liverpool next July.

However, veteran skipper Bassett won't write off the Silver Ferns, who they've met in the last five World Cup finals - all of which were decided by four goals or less.

Bassett said the Kiwis have shown evidence of progress under new coach Noelene Taurua and veteran captain/centre Laura Langman, both of whom she knows well from championship campaigns at the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

"Having Langman back in that group (is important) and Noeline, with the experience she's gained in Australia," Bassett said.

"From what we've seen, they would have been disappointed with what happened at Commonwealth Games.

"That's why we take great delight when we do have a great win against the Silver Ferns because it's really hard to do. We can see that they're building and they're growing every time they get out there."

The compliments didn't wash with Taurua, who was bitterly disappointed her team were "dealt to", unable to capitalise on the shock 55-44 win in Hamilton which ended a nine-match trans-Tasman losing streak.

She says countering Australia's circle height, finding shooting support for Maria Folau and improving player fitness are vital areas to target ahead of January's Quad Series in England and the World Cup.