The inaugural Fast5 Netball World Series Celebrity Challenge Cup, featuring the likes of Brendan Fevola, Billy Brownless, Livinia Nixon and Gus Worland, saw an entertaining game of Fast5 netball.
‘Sharni’s Sharp Shooters’ coached by current Diamond Sharni Layton and ‘Brazill’s Bruisers’ coached by Ash Brazill were bolstered by Diamonds Liz Watson and Madi Robinson as marquee players. Sharni’s Sharp Shooters took home the Fast5 Celebrity Challenge Cup 12-10 over Brazill’s Bruisers, in a messy affair.
Triple Olympian and Commonwealth Games athlete John Steffensen went into the game with confidence, but was blown away by the fitness required for the five-a-side game.
“I have done a bit of professional sport in my time but man, that was tough out there! I did not expect it to be that tiring, the girls make it look so easy on TV,” said Steffensen.
“It was an amazing atmosphere and what an awesome format of that game, I absolutely loved it,” he said.
The celebrity match opened with a Gus Worland stepping violation that led to Tim Gilbert opening the scoring with a one-point goal. The game was rough from the beginning. After failing to score, Brendan Fevola laid a bruising tackle on radio co-host Dave Thornton. Fev backed up his tackle with a three-point supershot over Billy Brownless that brought the crowd to their feet.
Current Diamond Madi Robinson came on at goal attack and showed the crowd why she usually plays wing attack for the Diamonds, missing all three of her attempts. Teams went into the first break locked at three-points all.
Gus Worland brought the crowd to life with a deep two point shot to start the second quarter. Australian Men’s player Levi Junior, standing at a staggering 219cms, answered for Brazill’s team with an emphatic dunk over Cath Cox. Scores were again locked at the main break, 7-points all.
In a pairing usually saved for the goal circle, international veterans Cath Cox and Irene Van Dyk faced off in the centre to begin the second half, running rings around the celebrities.
Layton’s shooters Brendan Fevola and Dan Ryan attempted supershot after supershot during their power play to no avail, before Cath Cox was subbed in at goal attack to minimise the damage. Cox scored her team’s only goal of the power play in the closing minutes of the quarter. Dave Thornton shot the only goal for Brazill’s Bruisers as the buzzer sounded. Sharni’s Sharp Shooters led 9-8 going into the final quarter.
Cath Cox opened the final term with a goal, before Junior Levi levelled the scores at 10-all. With just one minute to go, coach Sharni Layton opted to sub herself into the game, much to the surprise of her charges. Layton took the goal keeper bib and harassed Billy Brownless off the ball.
Van Dyk had a chance to win the game for Brazill’s Bruisers, but missed a three-point supershot, with five seconds to play.
In what was far from an international standard of netball, and likely the lowest scoring game of Fast5 netball ever, Sharni’s Sharp Shooters walked away with bragging rights.
All rounder for Sharni’s Sharp Shooters Clint Stanaway was filled with praise for his team, and the leadership shown by coach Sharni Layton.
“We won so I’m really happy! I think the leadership and motivational support that our coach Sharni Layton showed played a huge factor, she really knows how to make a team lift,” said Stanaway.
“I’d say my personal performance was well below par. I definitely over promised and under delivered but I had a great time doing it. I will definitely be back if they’ll have me,” he said.
SHARNI’S SHARP SHOOTERS 12 defeated BRAZILL’s BRUISERS 10
MVP: Livinia Nixon
MIP (Most invaluable player): Gus Worland.
Sharni’s Sharp Shooters starting five – GS: Brendan Fevola GA: Cath Cox C: Dan Ryan GD: Gus Worland GK: Christine Ahern
Sharni’s Sharp Shooter Subs- Liz Watson, Erin Molan, Clint Stanaway
Brazill’s Bruisers starting five – GS: Irene Van Dyk GA: Tim Gilbert C: John Steffensen GD: Dave Thornton GK: Junior Levi
Brazill’s Bruisers Subs – Billy Brownless, Livinia Nixon, Madi Robinson.
Sharni’s Sharp Shooters power play: 3rd Quarter
Brazill’s Bruisers power play: 4th Quarter