Sienna Rushton has been a core part of Leeds Rhinos attacking unit after an injury to starting shooter Donnell Wallam left Dan Ryan looking to his younger stars.
Aged just 19, having moved from Wasps to the Yorkshire-based team through her transition to University, she has been instrumental in the Rhinos victories, and has caught the eye of many fans.
Although, what originally was excocted to be a team in which she would grow and build as a younger player, she has been in Dan Ryan’s starting 7 consistently.
After Donnell Wallam broke her elbow playing back in February, Rushton found herself as Rhinos chosen goal shooter to fill the shoes of the Australian import.
‘’I was thrown on in the middle of the game, out of nowhere and ever since that game it has just been an absolute whirlwind of a journey, but I have just ridden the wave of Rhinos,’’ she told the The Inner Sanctum.
‘’I came to Rhinos knowing I perhaps would sit on the bench at the start, I’m young, that’s ok! I knew I can make an impact, but definitely all of this court time is unexpected.
‘’Luckily everyone has been absolutely so supportive, and it has been amazing to be able to show Dan [Ryan] what I can do as a player and have 60 minutes each week to prove he can play me with confidence.
‘’Expectations were low, as the shoes of Donnell [Wallam] were so big, so I just went out and did my best, everyone was saying just do your best and show us what you can do, it was really nice to feel part of such an incredible unit.’’
Although Rushton as a netballer is prepared for anything that comes her way, the pressure of professional netball is not to be underestimated.
Coming up against tough opposition, the shooters’ skills and experience of the game have been tested, but a challenge that Rushton has risen to, receiving Player of the Match against Strathclyde Sirens a few weeks back.
Riding the wave is certainly paying off.
‘’Dealing with pressure is something I have really had to learn how to do this season, being the last part of the unit comes with a lot of pressure naturally and stepping into those shoes adds more on definitely,” Rushton said.
‘’My shooting sometimes suffers, I think you can see what I am playing under-pressure, but I have been doing so much on keeping calm on the shot and I think it’s paying off.
‘’I was training at GA, so this move to GS is new but another challenge I am just relishing, Rhea [Dixon] is doing an amazing job so our strengths are working well so I am happy where I am.
‘’It’s not always perfect, but it’s a work in progress, we know we make errors but when its good its flowing amazingly, so we just need to work on that consistency.
‘’I have felt my confidence improve, I have been riding the Rhinos wave, from high to lows and pushing through, but I am much happier in myself and my netball right now.
‘’Professional sport, and in particular netball is not only a physical challenge, its half about the mental battle but I am focused on getting the job done and remembering the positives, not just the negatives of my performance.’’