This weekend Australia take to the court to try and claim international bragging rights in netball in the Fast5 Netball World Series, the only trophy the Aussies are yet to win.
The event hosted at Hisense Arena on Saturday and Sunday, is a modified version of the game set to thrill netball and sports fans alike in Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne.
The Australian team, which includes six Diamonds squad members, will look to top New Zealand in the shorter and faster format of the game.
New Zealand has traditionally dominated, winning five of the six previous tournaments, but Australian captain Susan Pettitt is confident in her home side.
“The selection of our team was based on who can play Fast5 netball. All the girls are shooting really well – Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett can also shoot those twos and threes. We’ve got some really strong players out there,” Pettitt said.
Pettitt isn’t shying away from the challenge, singling out New Zealand captain Maria Tutaia’s fire power within the ring.
“You’ve got Maria Tutaia out there shooting three pointers,” Pettitt said. “Fast5 is built for her, she’s a great long bomb shooter but we’ve got some shooters in our team this year who have really been practicing that.”
The Fast5 Netball World Series is fan focused, featuring dynamic rules changes, including five players-a-side, shortened quarters, multiple point shots and power plays; a rule change that Tutaia is especially excited about.
“In the past we have had quite a few good long bomb shooters and in this game if you do have hot shooters it does play to your advantage,” Tutaia said.
“For shooters Fast5 is totally different, you are approaching everything in the opposite, instead of having to shoot the close ones we’re trying to push out for the twos and the threes.”
Players to look out for this weekend include:
- Jo Weston – the young, up and coming Australian player will be looking to impress in defence and her elevation and interception skills will certainly help in this fast format.
- Gretel Tippett – with a background in basketball, the fast pace and ability to drop long bombs will ensure Gretel shines.
- Maria Tutaia – the seasoned veteran will be hard to beat with her silky long bomb skills and impressive athleticism.
- Kelly Jury – at a towering 192cm this young gun defender will be looking to impress in the goal circle against some challenging shooters.
- Helen Housby – Helen will be looking to impress in Australia this weekend ahead of her first season with the NSW Swifts in the NNL next year.
There is no disputing that New Zealand are again the hot favourites for this year’s event but all teams are eager to put up a fight, a contest that is certain to benefit fans.
The event won’t just deliver with thrilling action on court, with dazzling light shows, pumping music and delicious food and drinks all helping to make this the most fun netball event for fans this year.
General admission tickets for this year’s Fast5 Netball World Series are available now via Ticketek.
For more information, visit www.fast5worldseries.com.au.