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T20-style netball to hit Australia

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/10/2016 Samantha Sonogan

<span style="font-size:13px;">Kiwi Fast5s skipper Maria Tutaia's skill in nailing the long shots as a reason why Australia is yet to claim a win the fast and furious tournament.</span> © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Kiwi Fast5s skipper Maria Tutaia's skill in nailing the long shots as a reason why Australia is yet to claim a win the fast and furious tournament. New Zealand are the defending champions and Australia the in-form team but it's the unpredictability of Fast5 netball which could see any of the six nations lining up for short-form honours take out the world series in Melbourne.

Vying to overcome the traditional trans-Tasman powerhouses this weekend are England, South Africa, Jamaica and underdogs Malawi in netball's version of T20 cricket.

New Zealand have won five out of the last six tournaments while Australia are chasing history and the only trophy missing from their impressive silverware cabinet.

Captains from all sides were in agreeance on Thursday that the 24-minute, five-a-side matches with hybrid rules levelled the playing field, with long-range multiple point shots and power plays often proving the difference.

Australian Fast5 Diamonds captain Susan Pettitt said her side was boosted by the inclusion of shooters Gretel Tippet and Caitlin Thwaites fresh from a winning Constellation Cup campaign against the Silver Ferns.

She nominated rival Kiwi Fast5s skipper Maria Tutaia's skill in nailing the long shots as a reason why Australia is yet to claim a win the fast and furious tournament.

"Fast 5s is built for Maria Tutaia, she's a great long-bomb shooter but we've got some shooters in our team this year who have been really practising that and they're looking good so we're hopefully going to come out on the weekend and do well," Pettitt said.

England, champions in 2011 and runners-up in 2010 and 2012, boast a strong side which features the likes of Geva Mentor, Jo Harten and Ama Agbeze - regulars in the now defunct trans-Tasman league.

South Africa's Helen Housby will be keen to impress on Australian soil ahead of her debut with the NSW Swifts in the new National Netball League next year.

Jamaica are without their all-conquering shooter Romelda Aiken while Malawi boast shooter Mwai Kumwenda, who has shifted from the Mainland Tactix to the Melbourne Vixens next season.

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