Australia has won the 2022 Fast5 competition. (Photo: Netball Australia)

It was another great day of Fast5 action, with Australia being named the eventual winners. It didn’t come without its struggles, having been dealt its first loss for the series against Uganda. 

Australia vs. Uganda 

Australia suffered its first loss of the Fast5 campaign after a strong performance from Uganda saw the Aussies go down by two points. 

The defensive duo of Tara Hinchliffe and Matilda McDonnell was a key part of Australia’s first quarter dominance, with the pair giving the Uganda shooting end little room to move while winning back ball for Australia in the process. 

There were a few wayward passes and unforced errors from Australia in the second quarter, which saw Uganda capitalise down the other end. The Ugandans would go into three quarter time with a one point lead over the Aussies.

Sophie Dwyer was almost clinical in the final quarter, shooting two of a possible three of the two point shots.

Mary Cholhok proved to be a headache for the Australian defenders, with the Aussies not quite having the answer to stop her. Cholhok eventually sunk the Australians with a four point goal in the final seconds of the match.

Australia vs. England 

Australia finished off the rounds with a strong six point win over England. The nation was led from the front by captain Tara Hinchliffe who was instrumental in the side’s win, which secured a spot in the grand final. 

Hinchliffe finished the game with three intercepts and worked well in combinations of both McDonnell and Kim Jenner.

Sophie Garbin was once again solid, providing a target under the post for Australia, with the midcourters in Kelsey Browne, Jess Anstiss and Hannah Mundy doing a superb job feeding it in.

Georgie Horjus’s previous experience playing out at wing attack for the Adelaide Thunderbirds shone through, being able to play as that extra midcourter with her movement in the attacking third.

Her long range shooting proved handy – alongside Sophie Dwyer, the pair were dangerous from two point range. 

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Grand final: Australia vs. South Africa

Australia is officially the winner of the Fast5 tournament after a 14-point win over South Africa. The win came after a dominant performance, especially after half time, with Australia able to pull away from South Africa.

Goaler Sophie Garbin was instrumental, having a stunning performance shooting 20 from a possible 23 goals. The ‘Sophie Squared’ combination with Sophie Dwyer was strong, with the movement in the circle working seamlessly.

The zone defence in the final seconds of the third quarter was outstanding, not allowing South Africa to get the ball out of the centre third. With Australia pressing and trying to force the turnover, the clock run out, preventing South Africa from finding a chance to score. 

Kelsey Browne’s experience at international level proved to be an asset during her time on in the midcourt. She used her speed to her advantage to hit circle edge and really set up the movement down the court for Australia. 

The movement out of defence back into the goalers was seamless, with all the learnings from the previous five matches coming to a head with Australia putting on a near clinical performance in the final.

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