Netball players (L-R) Mwai Kumwenda (Malawi), Laura Langman
(NZ), Joanne Harten (England), Nadine Bryan (Jamaica),
Alissa Macleod (AUS), Simi Mdaka (South Africa), Eboni
Beckford-Chambers (England) and Joanna Kachilika (Malawi)
during the launch of the first Fast5 Netball World Series,
Tuesday. Photo from NZ Herald.
New Zealand's star-studded line-up ousted England 23-21
in last night's Fast5 grand final, in a battle of attrition
that was contrary to what the shortened version of the game is
all about, capping off a weekend of otherwise spectacular
The question still remains whether it is worthwhile the
International Netball Federation redirecting their limited
resources into a spin-off version when there is still much
that needs to be done to grow the original game, but as a
concept, Fast5 is an improvement from its previous
After disappointing crowds over the first two days of the
tournament, Vector Arena was at near-capacity for finals day
with 5500 fans packing into the venue.
With their sparkly wigs, pink feather boas and questionable
dance moves, the crowd helped create the festival atmosphere
Netball New Zealand was hoping for.
The Fast Ferns did their part to delight the fans - both with
their play on court, and their pre-match antics.
Introduced on court wearing bright pink bandanas, the Ferns
relished the chance to play the entertainers, performing the
Gangnam Style dance before the national anthems.
One of New Zealand netball's most well-known names of
yesteryear, Dame Lois Muir, calls the new series "an exciting
work in progress".
But wing attacks and wing defences of the world need not fear
for their future. Muir believes much like rugby sevens, Fast5
will not take over from the traditional form of the game, and
the event will attract a different style of athlete.
Many have highlighted the success of the African nations in
the tournament as having positive spin-offs for the global
game, but it remains to be seen whether the profile of the
likes of the Malawi Queens and South African netballers will
be boosted after their impressive results this weekend.
One of the best features of Fast5, for Kiwi fans anyway, is
that Australia does not reign supreme on the purple court.
The Fast5 Diamonds finished last in the tournament, having
struggled to adapt to the concept.
South Africa finished with bronze after a 38-34 win over
Jamaica in the play-off for third and fourth.
By Dana Johannsen.
1 New Zealand
3 South Africa