Draft Central Courtside Comments: Round 7 – Maddie Hay

EACH week the Draft Central team will focus on one Suncorp Super Netball player across the round and take a look at their individual highlights, key moments and improvements across their match. Our Round 7 focus is GIANTS Netball’s Maddie Hay, with the midcourter having less time on court in this outing than her past few rounds but overall showcasing why coach, Julie Fitzgerald has kept her on side.

A smooth mover who has learnt from the best in Kim Green over the past few years as a training partner, Hay has seamlessly stepped up into the wing attack role on court and provides a steady option with a solid workrate. While teammate Kiera Austin has been rotating between both wing attack and goal attack for much of the season, Hay has proved that she is more than capable of taking on the feeding load, with her vision and ability to thread the needle consistently paying off on circle edge. While she only took the court for 19 minutes in the GIANTS’ Round 8 matchup against the Queensland Firebirds, Hay managed six goal assists from 11 feeds, six centre pass receives and a pickup.

Here’s what we had to say:

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

A solid start from Hay, and while she collected a held ball call early it was more due to a lack of effective options than the wing attack lacking vision from her position in the pocket. Taking on Gabi Simpson it was never going to be an easy outing for Hay, but her vision to sight the free space paid dividends, consistently driving well to find circle edge. While she had a bit of a slower start, she began to use her vision a lot better into the circle, threading the needle on a few occasions to Austin on the lead. Quick and efficient on the centre pass, Hay’s ability to evade Simpson’s bodywork to dart out when required and use her footwork to connect on the first phase with Austin paid dividends. Was subbed out in the second and did not take the court again, but overall her output and consistency over the past few rounds has really helped build her confidence.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Getting the nod in at wing attack Hay had a strong start to the game using her speed to evade Firebirds captain Simpson. Although she did not play an entire game, Hay had patches of brilliance with her deft touch and vision into the circle cutting through Queensland’s defence. The wing attack was a strong option at the centre pass, constantly presenting at the line while her second phase was also impressive, able to weave her way down the court to receive the pass and create an attacking foray. Her high netball IQ was on show throughout her limited minutes on court with her good use of the angles to get into space and avoid the hands over pressure from Simpson. Hay showed good patience in attack and smarts to know which pass to deliver into the circle but struggled to really find her rhythm and continuity in the forward half of the court, sometimes clogging up space.

By: Lucy Pollock, Draft Central UK Writer

Hay is a secret weapon in the GIANTS lineup. Although she did not play much of the Round 8 contest against the Firebirds, she has proven so far this season that she can come off the bench without skipping a beat. She offers something very different to Austin in wing attack, using her speed and cunning to find the circle edge easily, and the attacking combination of Hay, Austin and Jo Harten had some success, although the GIANTS failed to secure the win. Overall Hay has huge potential as an impact player for the GIANTS, she is a real hard worker and has also showed a lot of patience on the feed. With more court time her game at the SSN level will develop further and she has all the makings of a big-game player. I would like to see her really dictate the play in the attacking end and provide that structure for the GIANTS side, she is an exciting young player and deserves the time to shine.

By: Jarrad Gardner, Centre Pass Podcast host

It wasn’t surprising to see Hay get the start for the third straight match following a
string of impressive performances for the GIANTS. She had a tough job matched up on Gabi Simpson and even though she only played 20 minutes in this match she showed she is able to hold her own against the very best in Suncorp Super Netball. Hay has probably been the biggest beneficiary of Austin’s move to goal attack for larger portions of matches and Hay’s combination with Jamie Lee-Price has been crucial in
recent weeks as they continue to get great balls into the Giants’ shooters. She could take better care of the ball and improve her pass decisions but that will come with even more game time at the top level in those high-pressure situations.

By: Kate Cornish, Draft Central volunteer writer

It has taken Hay a few rounds to get a starting spot in the GIANTS line-up but she has obviously impressed coach Fitzgerald with previous performances, because in Round 7 she was pitted against one of the best to play the wing defence position, Firebird Gabi Simpson. The last time the GIANTS and the Firebirds played, Hay came on mid-game and got the better of Simpson with fresh legs, so her challenge in this game would be to see if she could maintain the pressure Simpson would apply from the first whistle. Hay played a very measured and well-timed game and what I liked from her while she was on court was that she did not overthink her passes into the goal circle; when the pass was on, she gave it. With confident vision to post, Hay made smart choices to her shooters and was able to find space both on the circle edge and also was able to drop into the back space of the goal third to reset. She presented for her teammates and worked hard in defensive transition with hands over ball. Hay is the sort of player who looks like they have all the time in the world to make the right choice and for a player who is still to find her feet on the elite stage, to date, with the minutes she has had on court she has been impressive. After 20 minutes on court, while she did have three turnovers, she also managed 11 feeds and a pickup before Fitzgerald decided she needed a point of difference in the attack end. 

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