Beko Netball League High Performers
As the Beko Netball League reaches the mid-way mark of the season, we take a look at who has made an impact on this competition and what it is doing for Netball in New Zealand.
It is hard to go past the performance of Northern Marvels shooter Grace Nweke when looking at those who have grasped their Beko Netball League opportunities and taken them further.
The Avondale College schoolgirl made her Beko debut this season for the northern side and within the month was suiting up for the Northern Mystics and running onto the ANZ Premiership court for the first time.
Nweke, 17, has since played a little over six quarters and netted 85 per cent of her 86 attempts at goal.
It has been a big ask for the youngster, in a Mystics side struggling on the points ladder, but her ability to seamlessly slot into the top domestic league has been helped through the Marvels training and interaction with their big sister team.
But Nweke is not the only one to have played more than a cameo in New Zealand’s elite league and Netball New Zealand Head of High Performance, Keir Hansen, said he believed the Beko Netball League was fulfilling its role as a developmental competition.
“It’s really exciting to see these players make that transition having had the experience in the Beko Netball League to support their development” he said.
“We realised there needed to be something to underpin our top domestic competition, a clear pathway to ensure that players could have another learning step to help with their transition to the ANZ Premiership.
“Now we are seeing a number of athletes who, when called upon, are able to find their feet quickly and contribute because they have a better idea what is required.”
Waikato-BOP’s Simmon Howe is another who has made the most of her opportunities in the 2019 ANZ Premiership.
The mid-courter was named in the Waikato-BOP Beko team at the start of the season but was called in as an injury replacement into the Splice Construction Magic.
She has since made a start in every Premiership match and looked at home alongside the likes of Sam Sinclair and Monica Falkner.
Southland Blast goal attack Georgia Heffernan and defender Taneisha Fifita are two others to look at ease in the elite league having answered the call from the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
The defending ANZ Premiership champions faced a challenging draw to open their campaign – playing three games in the space of a week – and coach Reinga Bloxham was quick to turn to the Beko team for reinforcement and fresh legs.
The duo then slipped back into Beko action where they played a part in helping the Southern Blast beat the high-flying Central Manawa team.
Now they will be back in Blast colours on Sunday when their side hosts Hellers Mainland in Dunedin in the only Beko Netball League game to be played this weekend.
The Beko Netball League round robin concludes on May 12 with the Grand Final to be played in Christchurch a week later.