Almost 6,500 people watched New Zealand claim the Fast5 Netball World Series trophy for the sixth time at Hisense Arena today.
Australia had an exceptional run remaining undefeated in all five games but New Zealand proved too strong in the end, taking the grand final win in a convincing style, 41 – 16.
New Zealand captain and Fast5 veteran Maria Tutaia was unstoppable netting 27 points in the grand final, including five Super Shots, an amazing overall performance that proved too good for the Australian defenders.
Australia captain Susan Pettitt was disappointed with the result but happy with the overall performance of her team across the weekend. She relished the opportunity to represent her country ahead of national team selections in the coming weeks.
“I got a bit jittery when I heard the anthem playing, it was just a really special moment for me,” Pettitt said. “I haven’t been out in the green and gold in a little while so it was a special moment to be leading my country.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get the result tonight but I’m really proud of the girls.”
Maria Tutaia was complimentary of the first Fast5 Netball World Series Melbourne delivered saying she had a huge amount of fun and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
She was especially happy to take home the trophy in what would likely be her last appearance in the Fast5 Ferns team, saying:
“I’m not sure if I’ll be back. I have played most of them, I’ve only missed one. Time for someone else to shoot the threes.”
After an entertaining day of games, Malawi took out a best-ever third place over England in a nail biting game, winning by just three points, 35-32. Though England fell short, sharp shooter Joanne Harten was impressive all weekend and was awarded the player of the tournament for her efforts.
Rounding out the competition was South Africa who fell just short of Jamaica losing in the play-off for fifth, 34-33.
Fans were again kept entertained throughout the day with dance cams, costume competitions, quizzes and commentary from netball legends Irene Van Dyk and Cath Cox.
The crowd was also treated to a celebrity game that saw the likes of Billy Brownless, Brendan Fevola, Erin Molan and Livinia Nixon take to the court in what would likely be described as an enthusiastic but messy performance.
With the impressive turnout this year, organisers are looking forward to the fans enjoying another world-class sporting product when the Fast5 Netball World Series returns to Melbourne in 2017.