WITH the ANZ Premiership set to commence on June 19, netball fans around the world are gearing up for another eventful season. With Round 1 wins going to the reigning premiers Central Pulse along with the Northern Mystics and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic expect the likes of Tactix, Stars and Steel to come out with a real fire in the belly. We take a look at one up and coming player from the first three teams and the potential impact they could have throughout the season if given more court time.
Northern Mystics: Grace Nweke
The young goal shooter will be hoping to leave an even bigger mark on the competition and continue her strong form. After gaining some valuable minutes last year, after being elevated from a training partner to a full-time member in Round 6, Nweke did not skip a beat. The soon to be 18-year-old is gearing up for another challenging but exciting year given the profound impact she had last season. Nweke wowed netball fans across the world with the 17-year-old oozing nothing but composure under the post, unfazed by the physicality of the likes of Silver Ferns greats Casey Kopua, Katrina Rore and Jane Watson.
Playing alongside Silver Ferns goaler Bailey Mes and fellow youngster Saviour Tui, Nweke will have to fight hard to keep her spot the court but the goal shooter is smart with ball in hand and can hit the scoreboard with ease. Expect Nweke to continue to blossom and single handily guide the Mystics to victory with her reliability under the post.
Her ability to consistently go to post and sheer athleticism makes her one of the most influential players in the Mystics line-up. After just one round this year, the goal shooter has already proven she is here to stay knocking back 40 goals at 93 per cent displaying her deadeye accuracy and unflappable temperament.
Northern Stars: Kate Burley
Back for another season at the Northern Stars, expect Burley to get some more court time. The talented defender had a relatively inconsistent season last year, struggling to get any real continuity given the presence of both Storm Purvis and Leana de Bruin down back. But with de Bruin retiring it could be time for the defender to step up to the plate and deliver. Her versatility to move between circle defence and wing defence gives her an extra element of class.
Standing at 181cm Burley uses her long limbs to force turnovers and position cleverly under the post to gobble up rebounds. Her netball smarts across the court makes her a valuable asset to the Stars while her clever footwork also sets her apart from fellow defenders.
With Round 1 done and dusted back in March, Burley proved that she has the stamina and commitment to run out a full game and create havoc racking up seven deflections, two pickups and one intercept.
Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic: Holly Fowler
Fowler made the switch from the Northern Stars to the Magic in hope for some more court time and time to ply her trade on the netball court. Able to play in a variety of roles such as goal defence, wing defence and centre, Fowler is one of the most multi-talented netballers in the ANZ Premiership and will be hoping to prove her worth at her new club. Her go get it attitude and commitment to the contest puts her in good stead while her ability to read the play and force a turnover also makes her a promising prospect for the Magic.
2019 was an up and down year for the Magic, but the inclusion of the 22-year-old will give them that point of difference across the board. She is light on her feet and can hit the circle edge with ease. While in her preferred defensive positions, Fowler is strong over the shot and applies good pressure on the ball-carrier to block their vision.
She will be hoping to tidy up her penalties to ensure she stays in play for longer periods of time, but in her first outing for Waikato Bay the talented defender come centre court player managed two pick ups, one intercept and six deflections for her efforts.