The experienced duo of Susan Pratley and Demelza McCloud will lead the Australian Fast5 Flyers after being named co-captains ahead of this weekend’s Fast5 Netball World Series in Auckland.
Pratley, who has 54 international Test appearances for the Australian Diamonds, returns to the leadership position after co-captaining in 2011, and will be joined by McCloud, who has nine Test caps to her name.
McCloud’s appointment caps off a remarkable year which saw the Queensland Firebird make a return to the Diamonds in last month’s two-Test series against Malawi for the first time since playing for Australia in 2005.
“Susan and Demelza have different personalities, are the most experience members of the group and know what it takes to win so they can provide leadership and guidance to the rest of the group,” Flyers coach Jane Searle said.
“It’s worked out really well for us because ultimately you want your leaders at either end of the court and they’ve both fitted in perfectly so it’s going to be great.”
Pratley and McCloud, along with Paige Hadley, are the only members of the Flyers ten-player team with prior international experience.
The flexibility of the Flyers team is proving difficult for Searle to decide on her starting five for Australia’s opening game of the tournament against England on Friday afternoon.
“I couldn’t pick a starting line-up which says a lot about the team,” Searle said.
“We’re very even and flexible, we’ve got players who can rotate between defence and centre court and attack and we’ve got some great skills so we’re looking forward to it.”
The Flyers, who are looking to better Australia’s highest third place finish at the tournament, wrapped up a training camp in Melbourne on Sunday before the team departs for New Zealand this morning.
The Australian Fast5 Flyers will open its Fast5 Netball World Series campaign against England (3.30pm AEDST), Malawi (5.15pm AEDST) and New Zealand (7.30pm AEDST) on Friday night before games against South Africa (3.45pm AEDST) and Jamaica (6.00pm AEDST) on Saturday.
The 2013 Fast5 Netball World Series will be broadcast live and exclusively on FOX SPORTS.