Coming on as a significant impact player over the last two years, GIANTS Netball’s rising star Matisse Letherbarrow’s patience is starting to pay off. With star shooter Jo Harten’s knee injury sidelining her at points this season, it has been Letherbarrow who has announced herself once again to the SSN.
With England Rose and star GIANT Jo Harten being out injured, for two games, against Collingwood Netball last round and the upcoming game against the Lightning, the GIANTS have once again put their faith in young shooter Matisse Letherbarrow to help them take the win.
She spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her growing confidence that has helped her make the most of the starting position in the seven.
“It’s really cool [to get that opportunity], I feel like it’s literally what dreams are made of, to start at SSN level,” Letherbarrow told The Inner Sanctum.
“I think it just comes down to a very simple thing, that I just have to go on and do my job and do it well.
“[With] the position that we are in currently [on the ladder], we are just focusing on winning those games and knowing what we are capable of and what we can achieve both at an individual and team level and so just having it broken down to as simple as possible really helps [me].”
Letherbarrow continued to explain how she deals with coming on for impact during a game, a role with high pressure and unpredictable game time, and how she gets ready to start a game when needed at times.
“I feel like these years coming up to where I am today, [I’ve] just been training really, really hard and being prepared for any opportunity that you get to go on court,” she said.
“I feel like I’m very lucky with the team that I am in, that I’ve got the ability to learn off some world-class players day-in and day-out at training and also at games. I feel like not only getting myself ready but I’m prepared to obviously go on and to impact when I’m needed, when someone is not able to play a game and I have to fill in.
“I think it’s [also] just knowing that I’ve trained really hard and knowing that I’m ready and knowing that I’ve got awesome people around me that are going to support me and just rewarding the team when I go on the court.”
One of the best exponents of the Suncorp Supershot, Letherbarrow has become a reliable source of two-point shots for the GIANTS. She described her natural love of long-range shooting and the lengths she went to, to practice as a young child.
“I feel like since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a longer-range shooter, I loved that aspect of [netball],” Letherbarrow said.
“I used to do 500 shots a day with my parents on my local netball court and that was just something, the longer-range was something I always, always practiced and it’s always been a part of my game since my junior years.
“When it did get introduced into the league not that long ago, I was personally excited for it because I know that it is something that I’ve done for years and years. I love it and I’m glad that it is an aspect of our game and it’s really cool that all our shooters are really strong at it because it definitely helps us.”
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A mouth-watering match-up is set up for the GIANTS in Round 10 when they play the Sunshine Coast Lightning at home. With both teams struggling for consistent form throughout the season, this is one game the GIANTS need to win to stay in touch.
Letherbarrow previewed the game and explained where they need to focus their efforts.
“I think it just honestly it comes back to us and just doing what we are capable of doing and what we can do, obviously being on the same points [on the ladder] as [the] Lightning and the position we are in the year, it’s going to be a bloody tough game,” she continued.
“It’s going to be close, and it’s going to be a grind so I think the focus is literally just on [the] Giants and our team and our individual and team strengths and just being able to nail our strengths.
“That’s kind of going to be our main focus, knowing that it’s going to be a tough game no matter what but I think that we all believe we are can come through with the win after all.”
With the defensive circle being one of the Lightning’s strengths this season, Letherbarrow spoke about how they prepare to take on Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Karla Pretorius.
“I think it’s [about] respecting the defence and knowing what they are capable of, but I guess it’s recognising their strengths and how they’ve been playing,” Letherbarrow said.
“We’ve been analysing them all week about what they about what they do, so it’s just about hopefully coming back to us and what we can do to beat them and just focusing on our strengths and our structures.
“We [need to go] back to the drawing board with what works well for us, I think if we can nail what works well for us and our structures and everything we are about, then I think we will be okay.”
GIANTS Netball takes on the Sunshine Coast Lightning at Ken Rosewall Arena on Saturday to open Round 10.
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