As Fast5 is unveiled to the netball world in Auckland this week, the focus is not all on fun and frivolity. The world’s top six netball nations, Australia, New Zealand, England, Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi will compete in the three day tournament over the weekend with each team developing radical new tactics to suit the demands of the Fast5 tournament.
Australia to test depth in Fast5 tournament
The next generation of Australian Diamonds will get to test themselves against some of the world’s best netballers when they line up for Australia at this weekend’s Fast5 Netball World Series in Auckland.
Only Chanel Gomes and Caitlin Thwaites have international Test caps to their name in the ten-player Australian Fast5 Diamonds team for the three-day tournament, which features modified rules.
The remainder of the playing group consists of emerging talent as coach Lisa Alexander uses the competition to test Australia’s international depth against the world’s top six countries.
“The Fast5 Netball World Series is important for us in terms of developing talent for the future so the tournament will allow us to benchmark our emerging players against full strength international teams,” Alexander said.
The Australians go into the tournament, which features New Zealand, England, South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi, with only four international Test caps after both Gomes and Thwaites made their Diamonds debuts in the recently concluded Quad-Series.
After missing out on selection last year, Bianca Chatfield and Susan Pratley took their opportunity at last year’s Netball World Series, formerly known as FastNet, with the pair going on to regain Australian Diamonds selection this year.
Both Chatfield and Pratley were standouts in this year’s Constellation Cup and Quad-Series for the Australian Diamonds.
“It will be a great opportunity for Caitlin and Chanel because they’ll get lots of great match play and we’ve got a really keen bunch of Fast5 Diamonds ready to come that are looking forward to working with the national team set up,” Alexander said.
“You only have to look back to last year to see how well Susan Pratley and Bianca Chatfield did at FastNet and look where they are now and how they’ve improved.”
The three-day tournament features modified competition rules which includes just five players on court as the traditional wing attack and wing defence make way while new scoring zones have been added with one goal, two goal and three goal scoring areas.
While some of the more traditional netball rules remain, the games will feature four six-minute quarters, unlimited rolling substitutions and a Powerplay quarter in which goals for that quarter are doubled.
Australia will begin its Fast5 World Netball Series campaign against England, Malawi and New Zealand on Friday 9 November followed by South Africa and Jamaica on Saturday before finals on Sunday.
Australian Fast5 Diamonds:
Elissa Macleod (Captain)
Mwai Kumwenda (Malawai), Laura Langman (New Zealand), Joanna Harten (England), Nadine Bryan (Jamaica), Elissa Macleod (Australia), Simnikiwie Mdaka (South Africa), Eboni Beckford-Chambers (England) and Joana Kachinka (Malawi).