The Fast5 Netball World Series hits Australian shores this weekend for the first time, with six nations vying for the illustrious World Title.
The event hosted at Hisense Arena on Saturday and Sunday, is a modified version of the game set to thrill netball and sports fans alike in Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne.
New Zealand have traditionally dominated the shorter and sharper format of the game, winning five of the six previous tournaments.
Australian captain Susan Pettitt is confident in the home side, saying “the selection of our team was based on who can play Fast5 netball. All the girls are shooting really well – Caitlin Thwaites and Gretel Tippett can also shoot those twos and threes. We’ve got some really strong players out there.”
The Fast5 Netball World Series is fan focused, featuring dynamic rules changes, including five players-a-side, shortened quarters, multiple point shots and power plays; a rule change that New Zealand captain Maria Tutaia is especially excited about.
“In the past we have had quite a few good long bomb shooters and in this game if you do have hot shooters it does play to your advantage,” Tutaia said.
“For shooters Fast5 is totally different, you are approaching everything in the opposite, instead of having to shoot the close ones, we’re trying to push out for the twos and the threes.”
It is anyone’s game, with three point supershots and powerplays set to shake up the competition. South African captain Lauren-Lee Christians said her team is relishing the different format of the game,
“We’re very excited to play, as in Fast5 everything is unpredictable. We look forward to giving teams a run for their money,” said Christians.
Players to look out for this weekend include:
- Gretel Tippett – with a background in basketball, the fast pace and ability to drop long bombs will ensure Gretel shines.
- Helen Housby – Helen will be looking to impress in Australia this weekend ahead of her first season with the NSW Swifts in the Australian national netball league next year.
- Nicole Aiken-Pinnock – the experienced defender has represented to her country for over a decade and shows grit and determination on court.
- Mwai Kumwenda – A long bomb specialist, this animated shooter was named most valuable player at the 2015 Netball World Cup.
- Maria Tutaia – the seasoned veteran will be hard to beat with her silky long bomb skills and impressive athleticism.
- Lauren-Lee Christians – this pocket rocket stands at 168cm tall, but don’t underestimate her impact linking the team through the midcourt.
There is no disputing that New Zealand are again the hot favourites for this year’s event but all teams are eager to put up a fight, a contest that is certain to benefit fans.
The event won’t just deliver with thrilling action on court, with dazzling light shows, pumping music and delicious food and drinks all helping to make this the most fun netball event for fans this year.
General admission tickets for this year’s Fast5 Netball World Series are available now via Ticketek.