30 Oct 2016

NZ Fast5 netball team well-placed heading into final day

9:47 am on 30 October 2016

New Zealand's Fast5 netball team is second on the standings heading into the final day of the Fast5 World Series tournament in Melbourne.

The defending champion Fast5 Ferns opened their campaign with a tough-fought 36-35 win over England and backed that up with a more convincing 49-20 victory over South Africa.

New Zealand shooter Maria Tutaia competing at the 2016 Fast5 netball World Series

New Zealand captain Maria Tutaia during the Fast5 Ferns' 2016 World Series match against South Africa Photo: Photosport

But they lost their third match 32-29 to Australia in a nail-biter on Saturday night.

The New Zealand captain and shooter Maria Tutaia shot three consecutive long goals for 18 points in just two minutes in their third quarter power play, to nullify Australia's early lead and propel the Fast5 Ferns from trailing 16-9 to a 27-20 lead.

But Australian shooter Erin Bell slotted two goals for eight points and Caitlin Thwaites one for four points during the home side's fourth quarter power play to put them back in front.

Needing three points for a draw, Tutaia twice had attempts at goal to steal the match, but her long-shot luck ran out in the dying minutes and she was unable to pull back the three goal margin.

Tutaia said she felt confident in taking those long shots.

"Dad always says, don't waste time passing to the other shooter, so why not (take the shot)," she said.

The Australian captain Susan Pettitt said she was happy her side recovered from a slow start - where they were almost upset by Malawi - to progress into the second and final day undefeated.

The Fast5 Ferns play two more matches against Jamaica and Malawi on Sunday afternoon, before the top two teams play-off for the title on Sunday night.

New Zealand's won five of the six titles since the Fast5 World Series' inception in 2009.

Australia, who ended the first day on top of the standings, have not yet won the tournament.