Taumaunu likes what she's seen of Fast5

Robert Lowe, NZ Newswire November 12, 2012, 6:17 am

New Zealand coach Waimarama Taumaunu admits she's been surprised at how much of a spectacle Fast5 netball turned out to be and hopes the latest shortened version of the game is here to stay.

Taumaunu's Fast5 Ferns became the format's inaugural champions, edging out England 23-21 in the final in Auckland on Sunday night.

She believes Fast5 is a definite advance on its successor, Fastnet.

"I've been pleasantly surprised at what a great spectacle it is," she said.

"I've enjoyed watching it as a coach, but I've been told by spectators that they've really enjoyed it too."

The three-day tournament had a more relaxed atmosphere than a Test series, as evidenced by the way the New Zealand and England players squared off Gangnam Style before and after the final, to the delight of the crowd.

But while the rules allow for fast scoring, with goals worth as much as six points, the title decider itself was dominated by defence.

At crucial times, both teams looked to deny the opposition scoring opportunities by hanging on to possession.

Taumaunu said making that tactic harder to carry out could be one area for consideration.

She believed both England and New Zealand tried to play in the spirit of the game during the tournament.

"But when it comes down to gold medals and finals, then both of us did tend to revert to what we knew was available."

Another rule tweak Taumaunu would favour is increasing squad numbers from the present 10.

"I don't think anyone thought six-minute quarters would take that much out of you," she said.

"I really like the idea of five on the court, but the physical intensity of it was much greater than we expected."

New Zealand is hosting the first three Fast5 tournaments and next year's event will again be in Auckland.