WITH a host of young talent littered throughout the ANZ Premiership competition Draft Central takes a look at one key player each week. The player in focus for Round 5 is Grace Nweke, with the Northern Mystics goal shooter stunning last round with her accuracy to post.
Nweke is arguably one of the most damaging shooters in the league with her explosiveness and strength to take on two defenders and win. It is almost impossible to stop the 193cm goaler who is technically in her first official year with the Mystics despite joining the ranks as a replacement player last year. Nweke is composed with ball in hand and is not afraid to command the ball time and time again. She lets her accuracy do all the talking leaving many netball fans in awe given she is still such a raw prospect.
Up against a high calibre defensive unit in Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson in Round 4, Nweke rose to the challenge and came out on top, guiding her side to a hard fought victory. Her ability to withstand the constant physical attention and niggle under the post is a clear testament to her netball skill and calm on court nature. The 18-year-old slotted a whopping 38 goals from 40 attempts at 95 per cent and will have to back up those heroics once again this week, faced with the same task of the Tactix defenders who will be keen to get one back on the young goaler.
Still so early in her career, Nweke is already making a name for herself, able to exploit her opponents in the air thanks to her impressive leap and balance to reel the ball in. Her long arms and fancy footwork especially along the baseline allows her to ensure she is a constant threat for the Mystics and is hardly ever out positioned or out muscled. Nweke reads the play exceptionally well and is strong on the rebound, gobbling up two offensive rebounds last round against some of the strongest competitors in Watson and Fakahohotau.
Nweke is the prime shooter for the Mystics, putting up high numbers week in and week out but that does not seem to faze her, absorbing the pressure and growing as the game goes on. Her strength and dominance under the post allows the likes of fellow youngsters Saviour Tui and Asher Grapes to work their way into the game and play their own style. Tui and Grapes often play more of a feeding role, passing into Nweke under the post and creating space out the front to draw the defender as shown in last week’s outing against the Tactix rather than looking to post themselves. Although more of a holding shooter, Nweke has shown that she can glide around the circle and play the ball around to open up the angles and find an easy avenue to goal.
Her calming presence in the goal circle works wonders for the Mystics but it is her connection with wing attack Peta Toeava that causes all sorts of headaches for opposition teams. Toeava’s turn and release into Nweke is impossible to stop with the speedy wing attack able to break free and deliver a pinpoint pass into the towering goaler. Their connection is incredibly strong with the duo able to read space and catch the defenders off guard, something they will be hoping to replicate this round to notch up their fifth win.