Australia had the final word in the Constellation Cup netball series, handing out a 59-53 beating to the Silver Ferns in Christchurch.
With the series already wrapped up, the Kiwis were hoping to secure a rare whitewash of their trans-Tasman rivals and started brightly enough, opening up and early advantage and leading 20-15 after the opening quarter.
But the world champions dominated the middle two periods 32-13 to open up a 13-goal margin in the third and held on as NZ coach Wai Taumaunu rang the changes down the final straight.
For the third straight game, Taumaunu did not risk injured captain Casey Williams and also held out star shooter Maria Tutaia, who was also nursing a knee complaint. Instead, veteran Jodi Brown made her comeback to the Ferns line-up after five years in the wilderness.
Youngster Kayla Cullen was also brought into the starting unit at wing defence at the expense of Anna Harrison and initially these changes seemed to have paid off.
But Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander put forward virtually the same line-up that had finished Game Two so strongly and when they found their feet, they proved just as formidable this time round.
The turning point came as Alexander emplored her defenders to "put the fear of God" into the Kiwi feeders on the edge of the attack circle. Her charges took that plea to heart and forced many turnovers to feed their own attackers.
Towering Caitlin Bassett delivered on the promise she had shown in cameo appearances earlier in the week, scoring 40 goals, while circle partner Natalie Medhurst was probably the best performer of the night, missing just once (19/20).
New Zealand closed strongly after introducing Catherine Latu to their shooting circle for the final quarter - she was a faultless 13/13. They took the final period 18-12, but had dug a hole too deep to climb out of.
Brown had a mixed night, shooting 84%, but also committing 11 of her team's 17 turnovers.
"We got lots of people out on the court, which was part of our objective going forward," captain Laura Langman told Sky Sport. "It was very disappointing - we just let it blow out and couldn't catch up."
The Australian performance was a timely reminder that they are much better than their previous two outings and they should never be taken lightly with the Quad Series - featurng these two teams, plus England and South Africa - looming next month.
"We didn't want to go home with a 3-0 whitewash, and we knew we had to come out and fight," admitted Diamonds captain Natalie von Bertouch, who did not take the court at all.
"We knew we had to shut them down and get our hands up quickly over the ball. When we did that, we started getting tips and touches - I was really pleased with the intensity tonight."
The Ferns open their Quad Series campaign against England at Newcastle, New South Wales, on October 17 and meet the Aussies again in Sydney four days later.