Player in Focus – Jane Watson

UNDOUBTEDLY one of the most exciting defenders to watch, Mainland Tactix captain Jane Watson is one to keep an eye on coming into the 2021 ANZ Premiership season.

Watching from an Australian netball perspective, Watson’s defensive style is unique and unmatched. While Suncorp Super Netball’s (SSN) defensive style is typically player on player, body on body, Watson displays an off the body technique, allowing her to constantly keep moving and leaving just enough space between her and her opponents to keep them guessing.

By keeping off the body of the shooters, Watson allows herself the space to change direction at a moments notice, with her ability to hunt for the ball a key characteristic of her game.

Watson’s statistics from the 2020 ANZ Premiership season are reflective of her impressive game nous – with 20 intercepts, 36 pickups, and 72 deflections.

However, if Watson’s teammates did not have such a good understanding of each others games and where each other are on the court, this off the body technique would not be as dominant.

There is an obvious connection between Watson and Karin Burger; a deadly defensive duo that work together not only in the Tactix, but also in the Silver Ferns. Their partnership will be one to watch as the season builds with the two defenders able to rotate down back and ply their defensive trade to restrict ball movement and pick off intercepts. 

By having this connection of knowing where each other is on the court at any time, their ability to be able to switch at a moments notice is amazing to watch, and lets both defenders use the off the body style knowing that they have each others backs. Watson also seems to be developing this connection with defender Sophia Fenwick with the duo combining nicely down back to read the play, swat away passes and clog up space to create chances for turnovers.

Going down to the Central Pulse in last year’s Grand Final, the Tactix will be looking for a second chance to claim victory this season.

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