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Coach's Corner: Surrey Storm GS Rachel Dunn is under the spotlight

Columnist Posted 18th February 2014 view comments

Coach, player, author, commentator, analyst... Anita Navin's list of netballing expertise is long and here at Sky Sports we've asked her to take up the post in our Coach's Corner to analyse all the big talking points from the ZEO Netball Superleague.

Surrey Storm win big at Celtic Dragons

ANITA'S VIEW: Celtic Dragons could not weather the storm and the lethal partnership of Tamsin Greenway (WA) and Rachel Dunn (GS) dominated from the first whistle.

Dunn: Impressive stats in win over Dragons (photo by Gary Baker)

Dunn: Impressive stats in win over Dragons (photo by Gary Baker)

The Dragons elected to use the long ball option to Timmy Cato at GS on most occasions and whilst they did claw back early in the first quarter, after gaining a run of four goals following the intercept of Steph Williams in the Storm shooting circle, the anticipated close contest did not unfold.

By the second half the defensive pressure of Storm with the strong; high arms over the ball, five players defending in the mid-court and the commitment to deny the forward movement of the Celtic attack highlighted a wisely created game plan by the Guildford based team.As a coach in the Superleague competition the target set for the number of shooting opportunities in a quarter would be 18 or higher; Storm completed the first quarter having had 19 attempts at goal with Rachel scoring 15/16.

I was particularly impressed with the work rate and intensity of Greenway in this early part of the game and she used the change of direction effectively off the line for the first phase of the centre pass. Having looked at her availability for the centre pass in quarter one; there were 15 centre passes taken and she was an option for the ball on 11 occasions and received 9/15 in the first or second phase (taking the first or second ball) of the centre pass.

Surrey Storm remain unbeaten and the competing teams will now need to address the Dunn/Greenway connection if they are to counteract the slick progression of the ball to a shooting opportunity at the centre pass.

Successfully scoring an average of 15 goals per quarter, Dunn is a shooter to keep a close eye on in this ZNSL campaign. She has characteristically been known for her ability to hold space and wait for the ball to be delivered but she is now impressive in her ability to switch the lead with the goal attack and use more shooter rotation.

Scoring 36/42 goals in the recent match against Team Bath, Dunn's availability and consistency will be under scrutiny by the other Superleague sides. She is taking the pass and effectively turning away from the defender to protect the ball placing her body between ball and defender. With Dunn showing more court craft and movement out of the circle, it is now time to use the wide vision to see the options and player movement whilst out of the circle.

It was an impressive performance by Dunn, who seems to have the mental toughness to soak up any pressure and remain focussed on her positional role and duties.

Overall Storm had 81 shooting opportunities compared to 55 by Celtic, with Cato restricted to a maximum of 12 shooting opportunities per quarter. On average Celtic Dragons were forced to make five passes before the ball entered their goal third - once again highlighting the effective team defence by Storm. It was a close game at times not always reflected in the score line!

Turnover Tips

An area for debate as I talk with other coaches has been the high number of turnover ball occurring in the early rounds of this competition but at times not being converted to a goal.

Interestingly Storm gained 14 turnovers in the first half and successfully converted 10 of them. Hannah Reid at GK is starting to pressure more and turnover the ball but the test now is to ensure the pass is successfully delivered through to the goal.

When both teams gained the turnover and used the lateral or square short passing option this proved successful on the transition from defence to attack, especially when the attacking unit were caught high up in the mid court.

A training tip for coaches would be to encourage players to use this short lateral option when this situation occurs.

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