2021 ANZ Premiership: Top 10 quiet achievers – #6 Whitney Souness

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. Returning to the Central Pulse this season and making her way in at number six on the countdown is speedster Whitney Souness.

After plying her trade with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic throughout season 2019, Souness’ return to the Pulse was seamless. A smooth operator, Souness showcased her ability to impact the play with her turn of speed and all-round smarts to create space inside the attacking third. with the team struggling to find fluidity across the court, Souness impressed with her level of composure and confidence to bring the likes of Te Amo Amaru-Tibble or Aliyah Dunn into the contest. A quiet achiever in the team given the plethora of big names around her Souness showcased her ability to effectively and efficiently do her job. She was a real workhorse at the centre pass and was just as committed when it came to second phase play with her ability to work the angles and the pockets often coming to the fore.

Spending majority of her time out in wing attack – her preferred position – she was occasionally bumped into the goal attack role and made it work. Not a typical goaler, the fast-footed midcourter displayed her high netball IQ to provide an option inside the circle. Although she did not shoot many goals, what she did do was create movement with her impressive drives and ability to command the ball which in turn assisted Dunn under the post. Despite often being the shortest player inside the ring Souness used her impressive timing and read of the play to contest the rebound and create further opportunities for the Pulse to score. The addition of this role and skill only further added to Souness’ value, proving that she was more than capable of stepping up to whatever role was thrown her way.

She often helped with the midcourt balance as her partnership with captain Claire Kersten steadily developed throughout the season. The pair settled into a good groove that allowed Souness to use her attributes to her full advantage with Kersten opting to do more of the defensive work and Souness to led the charge in attack. Boasting quick hands and impressive vision, Souness was often the barometer inside the attacking third for the Pulse, able to dictate the plays that would ensue and the tempo of the game. Her control increased throughout the season, knowing when to go and when to slow things down or take a more methodical approach to post.

With plenty of attacking nous, Souness also lent a hand in transitional defence to try and slow the ball from zooming down the other end of the court in a heartbeat. Her three-foot marking and shadowing movements allowed her to apply pressure on her opponents. All in all, Souness finished with 13 goals to her name albeit at a lowly 56 per cent, but really shone with her midcourt craft racking up 476 centre pass receives, 446 feeds, 23 deflections and 22 pickups.

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