NSL Player Focus: Mikki Austin (Surrey Storm)

IT was a big weekend for the Surrey Storm, who had to battle both the Saracens Mavericks and Leeds Rhinos in the space of a weekend.

In the first of their two matches over the round, they returned to their winning ways by beating the Mavericks, and a critical part of that victory was Mikki Austin.

The playing coach – who always has plenty on her plate on match day with the dual role – finished with a solid 30 feeds and a deflection in an impressive performance. We a deep dive into what makes her such a solid centre.

After she has thrown the centre pass, Austin is off straight away into the attacking third, trying to get herself in the best position for the second phase.

When she is not doing that, she is also playing a very defensive role, trying to make life for her teammates easier by nullifying the influence of one of the opposition defenders.

She generally likes to pass forward on first phase, but is not afraid to look to her goal defence or wing defence if needed.

On defence she was initially defending the middle channel on the transverse line, but then transitioned to more one on one defending against her counterpart Beth Ecuyer-Dale.

Overall in defence, she is more a defender of the space than body on body, utilising her inevitable smarts as a player-coach to guard where she sees fit.

From her mannerisms on court, it is clear that Austin is as much an on-court leader as she is off it. She is always very vocal and always pointing and directing her teammates.

Speaking of teammates, she has a strong on court relationship with her wing attacks Yasmin Brookes and Sophia Candappa and wing defence Amy Flanagan. It did not go perfectly 100 per cent of the time, but for the most part it was clear their communication is strong and they have done a lot of work on set plays and patterns because they never got in each other’s way.

Not everything went right for Austin all game though, as was not immune from a wayward pass causing a turnover.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments