Compare the Pair: Donnell Wallam and Grace Nweke

AS the off-season continues, Draft Central will return to a weekly Compare the Pair series; delving into and analysing two fan favourites from different competitions. Next we compare and contrast a couple of key goal shooters in Donnell Wallam and Grace Nweke. Both Nweke and Wallam are in a key developmental period with their individual games despite their differing ages and journeys, making these two an intriguing mix to put under the microscope. Wallam is a player who will continue to grow and get better, with the West Australian talent proving her worth with the Leeds Rhinos in the UK’s Vitality Netball Superleague in 2021. The holding goal shooter started out her journey as a basketballer so has plenty of X-factor and willingness to take on the contest, while also proving hugely accurate both under the post and from range. Her ability to pluck the ball out of midair is a testament to her great vertical leap and reach, able to reel in the ball and use her long arms on the defensive turnover too to win ball back. While not the fastest player on court, there is no denying Wallam’s quick footwork and smooth movement to inch her way closer to the goals, able to out-manoeuvre her opposition with her upper-body strength and great vision of the feeders. Nweke is another who has a high ceiling for development, and given she is still only a teenager, that makes it even more exciting. Her impressive climb up the New Zealand ranks in the past few seasons is a testament to her work-rate and continued growth, able to adjust well to coaches and mould to their requirements of her within the goal circle. The goal shooter is strong under the post and has the height to back it up, with an excellent split and ability to adjust her position working well in her favour. What makes Nweke so remarkable is her consistency, rarely beaten and able to consistently put up heaping totals on the scoreboard. Her go-go gadget arms and sticky fingers make her hard to stop in the air while her excellent timing off the mark and great positioning allows her to have a continuous impact. While both Wallam and Nweke will benefit heavily off further time within their respective nations’ domestic competitions, what makes the two goalers so dangerous is the fact that they are readymade starters despite their experience. While Wallam has only been playing netball for a few years and is yet to actualy earn a starting role in the Suncorp Super Netball, her rapid rise up the pathways proves just how far she could go, with her time with the Rhinos this year proving crucial to her development. Comparatively, Nweke has played a starting role in the ANZ Premiership for two seasons now and has rarely skipped a beat, making that transition seamlessly from the Netball New Zealand development pathways. While this is a major contrast between the two, a big comparison is the way in which both goalers go about their game, with a quiet confidence and no-nonsense approach. Both have the ability to adjust their game seamlessly to their teammate or opposition, taking charge where required, while also consistently posting hefty totals on the scoreboard and dominating all aspects of their games. Both are key targets with great netball nous, and while they have different goaling ranges their ability comes from their respective strength and confidence to keep on pushing. Listen to the Centre Pass Podcast’s chat with Donnell Wallam:
Picture credit: Ben Lumley Photography
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