JAMAICA senior netball coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie believes the new Fast5 netball series has its share of advantages and disadvantages, but she remains confident that the Sunshine Girls will cope with the new version of the game and represent the country well in the inaugural Fast5 Netball World Series in New Zealand from November 9-11.
The Fast5 series is a new version of the sport designed by the International Federation of Netball Association (IFNA) to improve the global popularity of the game. “This is IFNA’s version of Twenty20 (cricket),” according to Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) president Marva Bernard.
Coach Pitterson-Nattie said although the team has had its difficulties getting prepared for this series, the fundamentals of the sport remain the same, so it’s just for them to go out and execute.
However, she said the loss of the country’s number one goalshooter, Romelda Aiken, was the biggest disadvantage the team could face.
“She was in such good form, so losing her is a big setback... but the other girls will just have to step up,” she said.
Aiken will be replaced by Patricia McCalla, who Pitterson-Nattie thinks has improved on her confidence and should justify her selection.
The rest of the 10-member squad comprise captain Nadine Bryan, Shantal Slater, Vangelee Williams, Jhaniele Fowler, Kimone Tulloch, Shameera Sterling, Malysha Kelly, Anna Kay Griffiths and Sasha Gaye Lynch.
The delegation will also comprise Marvette Anderson, who will assist Pitterson-Nattie, physiotherapist Wendi Peart, team manager Antoinette Irons and head of delegation, Bernard.
Jamaicans Yvette Smith and Maureen Hall will also travel to New Zealand as members of the IFNA rule board and coaching panel, respectively, and will represent the team at various meetings that will be held by netball’s governing body during the three-day series.
They depart the island for New Zealand on Saturday.
The Sunshine Girls will open against South Africa in the tournament opener on Friday, November 9, before taking on the host country and then Malawi further on in the day.
On Saturday, November 10, the Girls will first face England and then Australia in their final preliminary round match.
The top-four teams will then move on to the semi-finals.
Pitterson-Nattie, who will also stay behind after the tournament on a four-week coaching course, noted that preparing with 10 players at most training sessions has given the team the fitness they will need to compete in this fastpace version of the game.
“Most evenings because we have 10, all the players have to play the full six minutes, so they get used to playing the entire six minutes. Although sometimes I would like to be able to rotate them... but I am confident this team will do well once we avoid injuries,” she said.