Young Flyers will be better for the experience

Instagram Erin Bell Team PhotoAustralian FAST5 coach Jane Searle believes the young Flyers’ players will only benefit from the experience they gained playing at the FAST5 World Netball Series in Auckland, New Zealand.

The Flyers finished runners up – for the second year in a row – to New Zealand after losing a thrilling Grand Final by four points in front of a packed crowd at Vector Arena on Sunday night.

Taking advantage of their power play period – where every goal scored is doubled – Flyers co-captain Erin Bell knocked in consecutive three-point shots late in the match to get Australia within a goal of winning the match.

While New Zealand held on to claim its fourth consecutive title, Searle said it was a great performance by her team after losing by nine points to the hosts the previous day.

“I’m very proud of the girls. I think we lifted our game from the last time we played them. We certainly came out and gave it a red hot crack but fell a little bit short,” Searle said.

FF5“Ez (Bell) was fantastic for us in the last few minutes. Maybe we could have taken a few more three-point shots but, overall, we were a great defensive team for the whole tournament and we’re very proud of their efforts.”

Searle said she was delighted by the performances of the team’s young players throughout the tournament.

“It was a full stadium and I could hardly hear myself think. So for them to get out and perform in the manner that they did was real credit to them,” Searle said.

“They’ll benefit greatly from the experience of playing in front of a vocal crowd.”

The Flyers have returned home and most of the group will have a few weeks off before starting pre-season training with their respective ANZ Championship franchises.

FF2But Bell, fellow Flyers co-captain Clare McMeniman, Karyn Bailey and Gabi Simpson will travel to Canberra in a fortnight’s time for a training camp with the rest of this year’s Australian Diamonds squad members where planning for the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney will be very much the focus.

The future of the FAST5 World Netball Series remains undecided with the International Netball Federation confirming the tournament won’t run next year.

The tournament was played in England for three years and New Zealand has hosted it since 2012. INF president Molly Rhone is confident that a new host country can be found and the tournament will return in some format in 2016.

Pictures: Courtesy of Michael Bradley