Adelaide mentor excited about Fast5 coaching role

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Dual ANZ Championship premiership coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson is excited about the prospect of broadening her career CV when she joins the coaching panel of the Australian Fast5 team next month.

Woodlands-Thompson will serve as an assistant coach to new Flyers coach Jane Searle for the Fast5 Netball World Series, being played in Auckland between November 8-10.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds mentor is looking forward to working with Searle and the squad of players in the modified rules tournament where Australia will take on hosts New Zealand, South Africa, England, Malawi and Jamaica.

“I’m really excited,” Woodlands-Thompson said about her role with the national team. “I’ve done a lot of video analysis to get my head around the game. I love the tactical aspect of netball and the Fast5 format – it appeals to the way that I coach and see the game.

“I’ve coached against Searley (Searle) so I’m looking forward to working with her. It will be nice to get back into the green and gold and be part of a national team again.”

Woodlands-Thompson was part of then-Australian coach Norma Plummer’s panel when the Diamonds played against England back in 2008.

Woodlands-Thompson is currently in America on coaching study tour with other coaches from across Australia.

They’re spending 10 days at North Carolina’s Duke University business leadership school and observing its basketball program headed up by legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski, the former coach of the USA men’s national team.

Woodlands-Thompson received the Australian Sports Commission Coach of the Year accolade at the Netball Australia awards function for leading the Thunderbirds to their second ANZ Championship crown in 2013.

Australia’s Fast5 squad and coaching staff will gather in Melbourne early next month ahead of the tournament.

Woodlands-Thompson said she’s a fan of the Fast5 format and believes the Flyers’ squad heading to Auckland for this year’s tournament has a good mix.

“The long shooting takes away some of the trends in the ANZ Championship with the extremely tall shooters,” she said. “It’s brings the long bomb specialist back into the game and it gives good opportunities for different types of players to represent their country.

“The format promotes a fast, skilful and athletic display.”

While the Flyers squad contains six members of the Australian 21/U team, one player Woodlands-Thompson is keen to see in action is West Coast Fever midcourter Ashleigh Brazill, who’s been part of the Fast5 team in previous years.

“I’ve always thought that she’s been an outstanding player for this format. Her game sense and athleticism are really suited to this,” Woodlands-Thompson said of Brazill.

“(But) it’s very exciting to work with this age group.”