2021 ANZ Premiership: Top 10 quiet achievers – #10 Samon Nathan

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. Starting off the Top 10 countdown is Mainland Tactix midcourter Samon Nathan.

Although it took a while for the Tactix to kick into gear, once they did there was no stopping them – especially in attack. Nathan often got the nod in at wing attack for the Tactix to start the game and set the tone nice and early with her drive at the centre pass and second phase play. She could really shake things up and almost immediately altered the rhythm in the attacking third, with her read of the play and spatial awareness a couple of key cogs in her game play.

Nathan is a smooth mover and while she might not have the speed the likes of teammate Kimiora Poi, her composure provides balance to the frontend. That is not to say that Nathan does not have the weapons to turn the afterburners on when need be, credit to her pace off the mark and quick hands. The pair proved time and time again that they could effectively work together to open up space inside attack for the Tactix and create a new dynamic with their yin and yang style to keep defenders on their toes.

The wing attack has a tendency to float around circle edge and engage in plenty of 1-2 plays to create options inside attack for the likes of Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit. Nathan often flies under the radar but her workload cannot be questioned with the midcourter able to shoulder the load in attack and use her clever footwork to have a profound impact across the court. She was a cool, calm and collected customer who rarely got frazzled by the defensive attention she received and most importantly oozes confidence to release the ball into the circle with great ease. Nathan is more than comfortable to back herself from distance or work her magic to get closer to circle edge to demand prime position such is her strength and smarts.

The wing attack has a great level of awareness to quickly transition down court, but still keep her cool so she does not throw ball away and can instead capitalise on their opportunities. She is a smart operator and while she did not play every minute of every game there is no denying the growth Nathan had over the season with her increased variety in attack coming to the fore.

Nathan finished with 236 centre pass receives to her name, 11 deflections, 18 pickups, 65 penalties and a total of 682 minutes across her 17 games showcasing just how integral she was to the Tactix’ premiership tilt.

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