Nations Cup Player Focus: Georgia Heffernan (NZ)

AFTER a first up loss, New Zealand got its Nations Cup campaign back on track on matcday two with a five-goal win over Uganda.

A big part of that success was goal attack Georgia Heffernan. Originally just a training partner for this series, Heffernan subsequently got promoted to the actual squad and has become the first choice goal attack.

After a bit of a baptism of fire in game one of the series against Australia, Heffernan looked more at home against Uganda and she had much more of an influence on the game.

Although her percentage of the goals New Zealand scored was low, that was more than made up for with an increase in volume of activity in other areas.

Georgia Heffernan stats vs Uganda

Goals: 12 from 13 attempts
Feeds: 32
Assists: 31
Gains: 1
Intercepts: 1

Her intent was there from the get-go, putting on strong defensive pressure from the very first Ugandian centre pass.

One of Heffernan’s biggest strengths is her ability to just keep on running non stop. She is always presenting as a first option but if she is not chosen she is already off trying to find the best position for the second phase. She is also really quick which also helps her positioning.

With regard to her second phase work, she tends to head pretty deep when positioning herself for the second phase. This is really helpful for the Silver Ferns because they want to be able to get the ball to Grace Nweke, and the quicker they can do that from the centre pass, the more likely they will catch a defender out and be able to truly utilise Nweke’s height advantage.

One element Heffernan utilised really well was having her sister Kate playing at centre. Particularly early in the match, it was easy to tell they had played a lot of netball together as their partnership in the first phase was seamless.

All this saw her finish with some impressive numbers, especially for a goal attack. She finished with feeds and assists numbers that were the highest on the team, higher than both girls that played centre (Kate Heffernan and Maddy Gordon) combined and higher than wing attack Whitney Souness. Normally the midcourters have higher numbers in these categories than the goal attack does, but not this time.

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