The world’s most exciting netball is coming `down under’ after it was announced by the International Netball Federation (INF) that Netball Australia has won the rights to host the Fast5 Netball World Series from 2016 until 2018.
The modified version of netball, which includes five players-a-side, shortened quarters, multiple point shots and double point power plays, will see the world’s best international teams and players come to Melbourne’s Hisense Arena next October.
Netball Australia deputy CEO Marne Fechner said it’s fantastic to see the Fast5 Netball World Series come to Australia for the first time.
“This announcement caps off an outstanding year for the sport and another vote of confidence in Netball Australia to deliver a world-class event after the organisation hosted the most successful Netball World Cup in August,” Fechner said.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be hosting the Fast5 Netball World Series and look forward to welcoming the world’s best players to Australia’s sporting capital, Melbourne, for the next three years.
“The Fast5 Netball World Series weekend is a celebration of netball with its party-like atmosphere off the court and exciting netball on the court, making it popular with players and fans around the world.”
The annual Fast5 Netball World Series, established in 2012, sees the top six international netball teams in the world play each other once in a round-robin format before finals during the two-day tournament.
New Zealand’s Fast5 Ferns have dominated the competition since its inception winning the gold medal in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in Auckland before the tournament was put on hiatus this year due to the 2015 Netball World Cup in Sydney.
After finishing in sixth at the inaugural Fast5 Netball World Series, the Australian Fast5 Flyers won the silver medal in 2013 and 2014.
The tournament also provided many of the current Australian Diamonds with their first taste of international netball.
INF president Molly Rhone is confident the tournament will grow and prosper in Australia.
“Australia is a fantastic country to host a world Netball event as we witnessed with the spectacular Netball World Cup in Sydney this year,” Rhone said.
“The FAST5 Netball World Series has been a phenomenal success and I have every confidence that Netball Australia will build on this and take it to the next level and to an even wider global audience.”
Netball Australia’s successful bid has come with the support and backing of the Victorian State Government.
“Fast5 Netball is turning the popular game on its head – and the sporting world loves it,” Victorian Sports Minister John Eren said.
“It’s an action packed weekend and where better in the world to stage it than Melbourne.”
The 2016 Fast5 Netball World Series will be held at Hisense Arena, Melbourne, from October 29-30. Further details, including competition schedule and ticketing information, will be announced by Netball Australia once confirmed.
Photos courtesy of Michael Bradley