Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Loss of test stars forces changes to Silver Ferns' Fast5 team

Kayla Cullen was ruled out of the Fast5 World Series with a foot injury. PHOTO/Photosport.
Kayla Cullen was ruled out of the Fast5 World Series with a foot injury. PHOTO/Photosport.

The loss of two test stars has forced late changes to the Fast5 Ferns for this weekend's World Series in Melbourne.

Versatile midcourter Kayla Cullen was ruled out of the tournament last month after succumbing to a foot injury, while shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio has withdrawn due to illness.

Rookie shooter Jamie Hume, who impressed for championship winning Netball South team in this year's Beko League, will come into the line-up for Ekenasio, while Cullen has been replaced by Steel defender Jane Watson.

The addition of Watson, who made her international debut this year after being called into the Silver Ferns line-up as an injury replacement for Anna Harrison, leaves the Fast5 team short on midcourt options, with Gina Crampton and Sam Sinclair the only recognised midcourters in the team. It is understood athletic defender Phoenix Karaka will provide cover in the midcourt.

The Kiwi side has won six of the seven tournaments held since the shortened version of the game was first introduced in 2009. The format underwent a further revamp in 2012, reducing the number of players on court and adding three different scoring zones.

This year is the first time the competition has been held in Australia.

- NZ Herald

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