The six-nation tournament will be played at Auckland’s Vector Arena over the weekend of 8-9 November with the Flyers keen to go one step better than their runner up finish to the FAST5 Ferns last year and claim Australia’s first FAST5 title.
Searle and her assistant Jane Woodlands-Thompson have put a lot of time into having the team primed for this year’s tournament and said the players are eager to continue Australia’s recent dominance of international netball into the modified format.
“We’ve certainly got players that can shoot, especially the long-range shots, but we’ve also got a great defensive end that can stop people from shooting.
“You don’t know what to expect in this format. Anyone can win on the day so we know there’s certainly going to be tough competition for us.
“We’re so proud of what the Diamonds have done recently and we certainly want to emulate that winning streak. It would be great if the FAST5 Flyers could replicate what they’ve done this year.”
Queensland Firebirds’ defender Clare McMeniman and Adelaide Thunderbirds’ shooter Erin Bell will co-captain the side.
The FAST5 format has proven to be a good stepping stone for players to progress into the Diamonds team in recent years.
Searle said the tournament was a fantastic opportunity for the athletes to show national selectors potentially what they could offer the Diamonds heading into 2015 and beyond.
“If you look back at the history in this format of the game, you can see that players have come through this team to make the Diamonds,” Searle said.
“In the past there’s been Bianca Chatfield and last year it was Tegan Caldwell (that progressed).
“So it’s certainly a good competition for them and a great pathway.”
Australia begins its campaign against Jamaica at 11am (AEDT) tomorrow before taking on South Africa (1.15pm AEDT) and hosts New Zealand (5.30pm AEDT) to round out day one action. On Sunday the Flyers face Malawi (11.15am AEDT) and then England (12.45pm) before the play-offs later in the day.
The FAST5 World Netball Series will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 3 and you can follow the Flyers’ progress over the tournament through @NetballAust Twitter account.