England says changes mean Fast5 wide open

NZ Newswire November 7, 2012, 3:01 am

Coach Anna Mayes says England will take confidence from their achievements of a year ago, but rule changes have made the new-look Fast5 world netball series a wide open contest.

England are the reigning Fastnet champions, beating New Zealand in the final in Liverpool last November to secure the gold medal.

Fastnet, a shortened version of netball, has since evolved into Fast5, with the numbers on court reduced from seven to five per side and the introduction of three shooting zones.

"We're very confident about the sort of strategies we have in place," Mayes said.

"However, I think the changes really allow for anyone to take this title."

The three-day tournament begins in Auckland on Friday with Australia, Jamaica, Malawi and South Africa completing the six-strong field.

It's the last two, Malawi and South Africa, that Mayes tips to watch out for.

They mightn't be among the favourites, but the long-range shooting ability in their ranks mean they can't be underestimated.

Mayes remembers well the way Malawi managed to score from outside the arc when holding Australia to a 34-34 draw in the 2010 Fastnet tournament.

But she also rates her own side's ability to find the target from distance, citing the likes of Rachel Dunn and co-captain Joanne Harten.

"They feel at ease as long-range shooters," she said.

"That for me is a real strength of ours, but it's also probably been earmarked by the opposition."

Dunne and Harten are among six players in the 10-strong line-up that Mayes has retained from the Quad Series, as she looks to continue to develop depth in her Test squad.