2021 ANZ Player of the Week: Round 15 – Anna Harrison
IN a new series, Draft Central casts an eye over the top performer from the round taking into account not only their individual stats, but their overall impact on the game. Round 15 of the ANZ Premiership saw a number of key players lead the way for their respective teams and put their best foot forward. Anna Harrison gets the nod for her second time this season with the goal defence proving age is just a number.
Despite her side falling out of the race for finals, Harrison rallied down in defence for the Stars with the goal keeper well and truly asserting her dominance and stature from the opening whistle. The oldest player in the competition imposed her years of experience and wisdom up against youngster Khiarna Williams who struggled to make an impact in her 15 minutes of action. Harrison was simply in everything and left nothing to chance with her constant hustle and niggle allowing her to win ball back time and time again. Not only did she nullify the influence of Williams but she forced a change with Chiara Semple entering the fray in hope to negate the pressure of Harrison.
The goal defence was not afraid to go out hunting whenever she felt like it credit to her closing speed and read of the play to hedge her bets and then double-back when needed. She was a real pest down back with her timing second to none and long arms allowing her to disrupt any flow inside the goal circle. Most impressively though was her lean over the shot with the defender timing her leap to perfection to create a couple of rejections. Not only did Harrison put doubt into the mind of the shooters but so too the Magic feeders as she closed down the space within the blink of an eye to place pressure on the likes of Grace Kara and Sam Winders.
The teamwork between Harrison and Elle Temu was second to none as the pair double-teamed Caitlin Bassett under the post. The goal shooter was unable to have things all her own way credit to the Stars’ positional switch inside the circle. Harrison was on a war path in defence as she grabbed anything that came her way and contested every pass inside the attacking third. Not only was she influential down back but so too through the midcourt with her clever drives and acceleration allowing her to punch through the Magic’s defence and create an opening for the Stars to power through.
She racked up a whopping eight intercepts highlighting just how cleanly she was throughout the contest and her overall spatial awareness to come charging through and cherry pick the cross-court ball. If Harrison was not cleanly picking up ball she was creating an opportunity for her teammates around her to reel in the loose pass with her four deflections while her ability to contest for the rebound was also imperative in the win as she denied opportunities for the opposition to score.