30 Oct 2016

Trans-Tasman clash in Fast5 final

6:47 pm on 30 October 2016

New Zealand have reached tonight's final of the Fast Five netball tournament but old foes Australia stand in the way of the Ferns defending their title.

Maria Tutaia shoots during the Fast5 Netball world series match between New Zealand Silver Ferns and Australia at Hisense Arena Melbourne Australia.

Maria Tutaia shoots during the Fast5 Netball world series match between New Zealand and Australia. Photo: Photosport

On day two of the Melbourne competition, the Fast5 Ferns defeated Jamaica 26-16 and Malawi 52-27 to qualify for the final.

On day one, New Zealand opened their campaign with a hard fought 36-35 win over England and backed that up with a more convincing 49-20 victory over South Africa.

But the Fern's winning ways were stalled in their third match on Saturday, narrowly going down 32-29 to Australia in a nail-biter.

Australia are hunting for their first title in the five-a-side format of the game after cementing their berth in the grand final with a 31-14-win over South Africa on Sunday.

In that game, the home team's shooters sent a message to their final rivals, New Zealand, by opting to take long range shots from all over the multiple points scoring zone.

Shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Erin Bell slotted rare three-pointers from outside the 'pink zone' while captain Susan Pettitt hit four two pointers during the high-scoring match.

Australia coach Jane Searle said her side was wary of New Zealand's long range shooting specialist Maria Tutaia.

Maria Tutaia passes the ball during the Fast5 Netball world series match between New Zealand Silver Ferns and Australia at Hisense Arena Melbourne Australia.

Maria Tutaia passes the ball during the Fast5 match between New Zealand and Australia in Melbourne. Photo: Photosport

"I think our defence is probably the best in the competition. With this game you never can tell in attack. You saw what Tutaia did to us, three six-pointers in three minutes, so it's never over until it's over," Searle said.

Defending champions New Zealand have won five out of the last six tournaments, however Saturday's loss to Australia may have dented their confidence.

Australia are vying to become holders of all four major international netball trophies but have never won the Fast 5s World Series.

Fast 5s is netball's answer to T20 cricket. The 26-minute matches feature hybrid rules, five-players a side, multiple point shots and power plays.

The final is at 9.25pm (NZT)

-AAP / RNZ

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.