ANZ Premiership: Mystics shooter Grace Nweke sets netball sights high

There's no denying Grace Nweke's been the breakout star in this year's national netball premiership.

Last week, the teenager's form was rewarded with a fulltime contract with the Northern Mystics and the Avondale College student's living the dream.

"I never expected any of this to happen." Nweke told Newshub. "I didn't think I'd be a training partner."

Nweke started the season as a Mystics development player, playing in the Beko League for the Northern Marvels.

But the 17-year-old was promoted into the ANZ Premiership after three games and has taken the opportunity with both hands.

She's been instrumental in the Mystic's recent form reversal, answering the call for consistency in the shooting circle. Last Sunday, she netted 48 goals from 52 attempts – despite sitting the entire first quarter.

Nweke's form has been hard to miss and it's caught the eyes of many - including supermarket shoppers.

"I've had a few people see me in the uniform and ask for a photo, and i just feel like I'm little old Grace and I'm not special at all."

She is special, but she's certainly not little.

At 1.93m, Nweke's height has given the league's best defenders problems, but her teammates answers.

"It's a dream to feed Grace," Mystics midcourter and fellow teenager Tayla Earle told Newshub. "I literally stand here at training and I'm just like 'Grace!'"

It's not just Nweke's height that's raising eyebrows, but her hops too. The New Zealand secondary schools representative competes in high jump at school and has a personal best of 1.63m.

"Definitely, the skills are transferable," she said. "Like, it's helped with my jumping, landing strong and stuff like that."

But Nweke's form has people asking how high she can go on the netball court?

Grace Nweke leaps high for Mystics
Grace Nweke leaps high for Mystics. Photo credit: Photosport

Mystics coach Helene Wilson didn’t want to put too much pressure on the teen at such an early stage of her career, instead focusing on her growth and learning.

But Wilson said she had a leg-up on Nweke's idol and one of the Silver Ferns' greatest shooters, Irene van Dyk.

"She's taller than Irene," Wilson joked.

"She [Nweke] can jump pretty high and when I first watched her play, she could catch the ball at the height of the rim, so that's what excites me.

"I look forward to her not being like Irene, but being like Grace Nweke."

Nweke still has a long way to go in her growth and development as a player.

But if her rich form continues this season, it might not be long before she follows in the footsteps of her childhood hero.