AS the off-season continues, Rookie Me Central will return to a regular Compare the Pair series; delving into, and analysing two fan favourites from different competitions. In this edition, we compare and contrast a couple of upcoming New Zealand Silver Ferns goal attacks in Central Pulse’s Tiana Metuarau and Northern Stars’ Jamie Hume, whose respective breakout 2021 seasons led them to New Zealand Silver Ferns selection.
When it comes to talented youngsters, there is no denying Metuarau’s rise. The goal attack is a hard worker and puts it all out on court, rarely backing down from a contest or showing any sign of fatigue. With speed and agility in her back pocket, her biggest asset is her high impact style of play, able to consistently wreak havoc on her opposition and the scoreboard. With accuracy from anywhere within the circle and a quick drive to post, Metuarau is a force to be reckoned with and cannot be left alone in the goal third. Something else that makes Metuarau really stand out is her defensive capability, always putting in 100 per cent into her defensive game to help her side win back turnover ball.
Metuarau earns easy positioning in office credit to her evasive style of movement which easily translates into a defensive play, enabling her to regain possession in transition. Additionally, the young talent is known just as well for her playmaking as she is for taking the game on. She is more than happy to relinquish the spotlight inside the circle and work hard to pull focus from a goal shooter under the post, making her a tough beat regardless of which role she plays in the attack.
Hume has had a somewhat up and down career thus far, arguably playing her best season by far in 2021 and stepping up to the plate in a way she has not necessarily shown the strength to do in the past. With accuracy to post and more importantly, volume, Hume has built up her confidence to be a consistent contributor and a realistic threat. She looked comfortable going to post and gradually built from close to long range, adapting her game style as she worked her way up to taking a greater load on in the goal circle. She can use her smooth movement and clean hands to play both a playmaking role and be the focal point under pressure.
Hume’s resilience and willingness to work hard was made evident throughout the 2021 season, shaking off inconsistencies and stepping up to be a much more threatening prospect both in and around the circle. What Hume also offers is great maturity, focus and composure under pressure, able to anticipate where to position and do so without fuss or fluster. Factor in her rate of improvement this year, and it is safe to say Hume is set for another big season in 2022.
It is safe to say that one of the biggest comparisons between Metuarau and Hume is that they have hit their stride at a similar time, producing undeniably their best seasons in 2021. Both players are crafty with excellent positioning and smooth movement to lose their opposition, and both have showcased plenty of consistency to get the job done, even if it is not always pretty. Another factor that showcases the similarities between the two goal attacks is their ability to hold strong under pressure, taking the intensity on well and proving capable against the best of opposition.
Additionally, both Metuarau and Hume have great game sense to know when to take the game on and when to ease off and play a different role in attack, using their time on the bench in past seasons to understand how they should impact the game. They both are aware of not only what they can bring to the court, but also what is required of the role they will play, which will not always be the high-flying, scoring role. Both Metuarau and Hume both accuracy and volume to post, posing consistent threats out on court and earning Silver Ferns selection in 2021.
When it comes to contrasting the two, the main points of difference are age and flair. While Hume has a couple of years on her younger counterpart, Metuarau has arguably shown her creativity and flair a bit more, well and truly taking her opportunity with Southern Steel to showcase just what she is capable of. Not only that, but Metuarau did it consistently; proving that the flashes of form seen during her time at Central Pulse in 2020 were not just that, and consistently putting together strong 60-minute performances this season.
Hume is not quite as flashy on court but stood up tall in 2021, and while she had been somewhat inconsistent throughout 2020 with a lack of confidence, she was one of the quiet achievers for the 2021 season chipping away under the post. Still at a very malleable age, Hume stepped out of her comfort zone this season to bring a little for creativity to her game. that being said, she still certainly plays a much more traditional goal attack role than Metuarau, who plays with the kind of natural instinct that cannot be taught. With crafty movement and plenty still to build on, both goal attacks have well and truly showcased just what they are capable of over the past season.