Draft Central Courtside Comments: Round 12 – Tayla Honey

EACH week the Draft Central team will focus on one Suncorp Super Netball player across the round and take a look at their individual highlights, key moments and improvements across their match. Our Round 12 focus is Melbourne Vixens’ Tayla Honey with the young wing attack handed her first starting appearance with Liz Watson out due to injury. Each set of notes showcases the opinions of our writers individually.

The young wing attack has not had a heap of court time in 2020, after a disrupted 2019 saw her sit on the sidelines and Watson’s continued dominance seeing coach Simone McKinnis have little need to replace her. But Honey got her chance to prove she is capable in Round 12, getting the starting wing attack bib and showcasing her potential with her zippy movement and ability to adapt to play. While not her most confident and impressive performance, Honey showcased some real potential with her quick ball movement and ability to turn on the defensive gears to win ball back with her hands over pressure, finishing with 11 goal assist from 21 feeds, 15 centre pass receives and a gain, but also with eight general play turnovers in her 39 minutes on court.

Here’s what we had to say:

By: Sophie Taylor, Draft Central Senior Editor

It was a relatively quiet match from Honey, who seemed to have gotten in her own head before the match started, lacking her usual composure with ball in hand. The speedster did not have a great start and really had to work hard to build into the game, while the Vixens’ slow start did not do her any favours and nor did Geva Mentor in defence, anticipating Honey’s ball placement with her high looping feeds playing into defenders’ hands at times. Kate Moloney’s confidence to pass off to Honey paid off as the first quarter went on, seeing the youngster eventually settling into the game. After amassing five turnovers in the first quarter, Honey cleaned up her act in the second to play a significant role drawing attention on circle edge to allow Moloney to control play in the Vixens’ dominant quarter. While she did make a few errors and did not re-take the court after three quarter time, Honey has plenty of development left and will relish the time she had on court to further her feeding craft, showcasing some good skills in her appearance.

By: Taylah Melki, Draft Central Managing Editor

Getting the nod in at wing attack due to Watson’s injury, Honey took a while to find her feet and overall had a relatively quiet performance. That being said, she had some good passages of play with her smooth movement to hit circle edge and secure prime spot at the top of the circle on show when on court. Honey sometimes got caught high on the transition and was unable to punch down the line in attack due to the defensive work of the Magpies to keep her out of the contest, but continued to push hard to have an influence. Her effort was unquestionable, constantly on the move and while she was not always used in attack she kept Mel Bragg busy with her footwork and hustle. Honey was not afraid to reset the play and go back to the transverse line to open up options inside the goal circle, showcasing her composure and netball smarts. Her quick and high release into Mwai Kumwenda was on song with the wing attack identifying the space and delivering the ball into the goal shooter confidence.

By: Lucy Pollock, Draft Central UK Writer

Honey took a few minutes to warm into the game against the Magpies, which is to be expected due to her limited experience playing at SSN level. With this in mind, she did well as she has plenty of speed to burn and the ability to lose her defender easily and hit circle edge. It is a difficult task to try and fill the shoes of one of the best in the game in Watson, and Honey’s nervous start led to a couple of early turnovers and misfeeds. She made up for it with her defensive hustle and was well matched for height against Bragg. Honey started to get into her stride in the second quarter as the Vixens took the lead but was still a little bit too tentative to command the attacking end and set up plays. She was almost waiting to see what Tegan Philip and Moloney would do and responding to that, rather than following her own instincts and being direct. She went to the bench in the third quarter having put out a solid performance in terms of feeds and centre pass receives, and has all the makings of a reliable and speedy wing attack. 

By: Jarrad Gardner, Centre Pass Podcast host

Honey stepped up in the absence of Watson and played a strong role in the Vixens win in Round 12. She had a few shaky moments early on as the Magpies’ defenders put on the pressure and forced multiple turnovers throughout the first quarter however once Honey settled, she was able to get the ball into her shooters with relative ease. Her speed and agility was a major asset as the Vixens looked to move the ball quickly down the court and on the defensive side, she along with Moloney were able to force multiple deflections and keep the ball in the Vixens’ attacking half. As long as she can clean up her errant passing, Honey could be a vital cog in the Vixens’ shot at the premiership.

By: Kate Cornish, Draft Central volunteer writer

It can be daunting to sit in the shadows of an established player in any netball team, however when that team is the Melbourne Vixens and the long shadow that is cast belongs to a Diamond called Liz Watson, some might find it overwhelming. In Round 12 Honey was the wing attack chosen by coach McKinnis to fill the shoes left by Watson, who was being rested after rolling her ankle in Round 11. Honey, who has been a training partner since 2017 had Bragg to contend with for the 40 minutes she was on court and while the Vixens had a slow start, Honey alone counted for five of the nine general play turnovers that her team had in the first 15 minutes, and that may have thrown her confidence for the rest of the game. When Honey was not over-thinking on court, she was good for the Vixens. She provided options in attack and when she wasn’t used the first time, she would work hard to offer again. As a feeder she was quick to find the circle after the first phase off the centre pass and she had a lovely high release of the ball from her shoulder, when she was feeding the ball to Kumwenda. Honey’s performance in this game was not reflective of the talent we know she has or how we have seen her play in bursts over this 2020 season, and while the stat of eight turnovers while on court does not truly reflect the solid work that Honey did during this very intense match, being benched for the final 20 minutes could indicate that McKinnis felt she needed to steady the attack line and it certainly gives Honey something tangible to work on moving forward. 

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