As the Fast5 Netball World Series draws ever nearer, we go through all six of the sides competing in Melbourne, starting with the hosts; Australia.
The Diamonds have finished as runners up in the last three Fast5 Netball World Series tournaments each time losing to rivals New Zealand as they are still in search for their first ever Fast5 World Series Title. The closest Australia have come to winning the title is back in 2014, where they lost the grand final by four. Can they go one better this time and win it?
New coach, new fortunes?
There has been a reshuffle in the coaching pack for this years Australian side with the appointment of new Fast5 coach Stacey Marinkovich. Alongside Marinkovich in the assistant coaches role, will be Rob Wright and Megan Anderson of New South Wales Swifts. Marinkovich is the current head Coach of Australian club side West Coast Fever and has selected a strong squad, consisting of five Australian Diamonds players.
One of which is captain Kate Moloney, who has been present at the last two Fast5 events. She’s been no stranger to success in the last couple of weeks too – having been a part of the Diamonds squad that were victorious at the Constellation Cup Series.
As mentioned, the mid-courter is one of five Australia Diamonds players in the squad with the others being – Paige Hadley, Emily Mannix, Tegan Phillip, Gretel Tippett. Paige Hadley joins captain, Moloney as survivors from last year’s squad.
There was a late adjustment that had to be made to the squad when Nat Medhurst failed to recover from a hand injury. She has been replaced by fellow goal shooter and club teammate Kaylia Stanton. Stanton played for the West Coast Fever last season and has represented her country at under 21 level.
Last year Australia scored 164 goals during their matches, which was the fourth highest during last years competition. Australia’s fortunes at this event has been mixed over the years. From finishing runners up a record three times to finishing last place in 2012.
As hosts, Australia start the weekend off against Malawi, a side they defeated 24-23 in a close opening game last year. Their final round robin game is against South Africa on the Sunday where they will be hoping to be near the top of the table so they can later proceed to the grand final later that day.