McCloud likes Fast5 team blend

demac1Australian Diamonds squad member Demelza McCloud thinks a mix of youth and experience is the key to the Australian Fast5 Flyers success at the Fast5 Netball World Series in New Zealand next week.

“We usually take quite a young and inexperienced team so it is good to have a good mix this time,” McCloud said.

“Australia has underperformed in the past so we will be really keen to grab some silverware this year and get another win on the board.”

Under new coach Jane Searle, the Flyers will be looking to improve on Australia’s sixth-place finish last year. Searle will be assisted by Adelaide Thunderbirds championship-winning coach Jane Woodlands-Thompson.

Australia’s best finish at the Fast5 Netball World Series is third at the inaugural tournament in 2009 and 2011.

McCloud is part of the Australian Fast5 Flyers squad heading to Auckland between November 8-10 to take on New Zealand, England, South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi in the three-day tournament.

The veteran defender is excited about getting the opportunity to represent her country after coming off a successful series against Malawi and call up to the Constellation Cup taking on New Zealand.

“I want to get some good court time in the Australian system and it will be fun to work with some of the young players coming through,” McCloud said.

“And of course any time I can spend with Gab is great as we are quite close.”

The games will be fast paced using a modified version of netball rules, with five players on the court and can be best described as the netball equivalent of Twenty20 cricket.

McCloud is looking to use the tournament as preparation for the 2014 ANZ Championship season and hopes the speed of the games will give her an added advantage going in to the Firebirds camp.

“It is quite a fast and furious game so will give me a jump start heading in to preseason training with the Firebirds,” McCloud said.

“I will also look at this as preparation for the Commonwealth Games, it will be here before you know it especially with our season so close as well.”

On a lighter note, McCloud is looking forward to catching up with Queensland Firebirds team mate Romelda Aiken, who will captain Jamaica at the tournament.

“It will be great to see Romelda and have a chance to play against her, and have a catch up on court,” McCloud said.

The Flyers begin their campaign against the England Fives then face the Malawi Queens and the New Zealand FAST5 Ferns on the opening day of the tournament.

The Australian Fast5 Flyers team is: Ashleigh Brazill, Courtney Bruce, Tegan Caldwell, Carla Dziwoki, Paige Hadley, Demelza McCloud, Susan Pratley, Gabi Simpson, Gretel Tippett and Jo Weston.