2021 ANZ Premiership: Top 10 quiet achievers – #1 Elle Temu
NOW that the ANZ Premiership season has come to a close Draft Central takes a look back at some of the quiet achievers that effectively plied their trade throughout the year. The number one spot on the countdown goes to exciting Northern Stars defender Elle Temu.
After making the switch at the end of the 2020 season from the Central Pulse to the Northern Stars, Temu relished in her extra court time with the defender upping the ante every game. With a plethora of big name performers around her in captain Maia Wilson down one end of the court and fan favourite Anna Harrison coming out of retirement this season, Temu well and truly flew under the radar. A relatively unknown prospect heading into the season, Temu blossomed as the year went on with her confidence growing and competitive edge coming to the fore. She made use her of her unknown stature to become an imposing force on the opposition and effectively ply her trade to continuously win ball back.
The goal defence proved that she is more than capable of stepping up to the plate with her court craft and read of the play developing at a rate of knots. Temu did not shy away from the big contests often putting her body on the line to create turnovers for the Stars and made herself a real general down back. With fancy footwork to boot and smarts to go with it, Temu impressed for the Stars. She showcased her ability to cleverly and cleanly manoeuvre around the body of her opposition while her hands over pressure was another clear asset of her game play.
Although she is not the tallest defender going around, Temu did not lack any form of aerial presence with her smarts and ability to contest in the air coming to the fore as the season went on. She positioned exceptionally well against the taller goal shooters to push them up nice and high in the goal circle while she also protected the backspace with her deceptive turn of speed. Temu was not content with just sitting back and waiting for the ball to come to her, instead she went out hunting to create doubt in the feeders minds and cherry pick any high loping passes that came her way.
Temu showcased her ability to play both goal keeper and goal defence without skipping a beat such is her netball IQ. She had no issues seamlessly transitioning between either position, highlighting her ability to play a shutdown defender or a moving one. Temu utilised her strength to be an imposing threat while her shadowing movements enabled her to nullify the space and pick off intercepts. The up and coming defender impressed with her turn of speed and ability to turn herself inside out to swat ball away. Her ever-growing connection with Harrison, Oceane Maihi and Lisa Mather enabled Temu to play her own game and build pressure with her constant niggle and pressure.
Temu finished with an impressive stats sheet including 45 centre pass receives credit to her attacking mindset and willingness to propel the ball forward. She also amassed 18 rebounds, 45 deflections, 27 pickups and 35 intercepts. She was relatively clean with ball in hand treasuring possession as shown through her 17 turnovers but will want to tidy up her penalty count recording 176 for the season.