Ferns fans prove Fast5 can be a real winner

By Dana Johanssen

A victory for the Fast Ferns and a pass mark for the Fast5 concept.

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 action.

The question still remains whether it is worthwhile that the INF redirects 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 incarnation, FastNet.

After disappointing crowds over the first two days of the tournament, Vector Arena was at near-capacity for finals day with 5500 enthusiastic fans packing into the venue.

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 needn't fear for their future.

Muir believes much like rugby sevens, Fast5 won't 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.

The Ferns proved they mastered the strategy of Fast5 earlier in the day with a commanding 52-18 win over Jamaica in their semifinal match-up.

The Ferns poured on the points in their powerplay quarter, before bringing on their defensive guns to restrict the Sunshine Girls to just two for their double-scoring quarters.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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