NSL Player Focus: Natalie Metcalf (Manchester Thunder)

MANCHESTER Thunder fought off a tough challenge from the Strathclyde Sirens to take the win on the weekend, and a key part of that success was their skipper Natalie Metcalf.

The Thunder and Roses skipper finished with 41 feeds in her side’s win over the Sirens, and was a pivotal link in many a successful foray into attack for those in yellow.

This Player Focus aims to delve a little bit deeper into her game and approach out on court and work out what lead her to have such a great game.

Although not always, when Thunder chose to pass to an attacker of the centre pass, Metcalf is often the preferred choice for first phase receive off the centre pass. If not, she is already in the attacking third ready for the second phase.

Defensively Metcalf knows when to bring the intensity when guarding. If her opponent is closer than three feet to the transverse line of the opposition attacking third Metcalf will not try and run the risk of obstruction just for the small chance she will get an intercept or a deflection.

Metcalf is not afraid of the potentially riskier passes.

When in the centre third, if she sees an opportunity to pass straight into the ring, she is not afraid to take it. This also shows how strong she is because it is not easy to throw a netball some of the distances Metcalf is capable of.

While on the ring, Metcalf is not afraid to swing the ball round to the opposite side of the ring if needed and the opportunity presents itself. She has the control in her pass and the confidence in her and her team mates to execute a potentially risky move that could result in a turnover.

Like any good midcourter, Metcalf just does not stop running in attack. She is always trying to find the best position to receive the ball, and will not stop until she does.

When defending, she combines guarding the space with man on man defending, but is always analysing the play to see what her best move is.

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