COLLINGWOOD Magpies coach Rob Wright makes no secret he has high hopes for his blossoming goal shooter Shimona Nelson.
But as quickly as the Jamaican-born 20-year-old is developing, Wright still views the second-year Suncorp Super Netball star as a 'work in progress'.
Ahead of the Magpies' visit to the region in March for the four-team Bendigo Pre-Season Netball Blockbuster, the Collingwood coach referred to Nelson as 'a long-term project'.
It's an opinion Wright maintains and one he is ever so excited for the future about, after a string of impressive performances to start the 2019 season from his star shooter.
The Magpies coach will no doubt be hoping for equal parts of development and promise again from Nelson, when the Magpies host West Coast Fever in Saturday's SSN clash at Bendigo Stadium.
"Her development has been really impressive, I feel like she gets better every time she goes out there (on court)," Wright said.
"This is only her third year of netball, her learning curve is really steep, but we are very pleased with where she is at.
"It's still that 'work in progress', but when she is consistently good across that four quarters, which we acknowledge will take some time and we will wear that, but she has been impressive.
"I think she become a 50-goal a game player. She obviously got 52 (last weekend), but has a ways to go yet, but I'm confident she can get there."
Part of an entirely new-look goaling combination for ther Magpies this season alongside former Diamonds star Nat Medhurst, Nelson is clearly relishing her new opportunity after her 2018 debut season with Adelaide Thunderbirds.
The Jamaican national team representative is ranked second in the league in both goals scored (183) and attempts (208), behind only Jhaniele Fowler (201/210), who will be at the opposite end of the court on Saturday.
While goal-scoring machine Fowler looms large in the plans of most opposition coaches and despite inevitable comparisons between the two Jamaicans, the preference for the Magpies, according to Nelson, is to concentrate on their own game.
"I'm not really thinking about the opposition that much, I'm thinking about getting my own game structured properly," she said.
"All in all I do have to have respect for my opponents' defence.
"I need to think about how I can contribute to my feeders and my energy, that's a main focus."
Collingwood enters the clash in fourth spot on the ladder with a 2-1-1 record.
Their comprehensive 65-47 win over the Thunderbirds last week came with the addition of four bonus points and set the tone for a potential finals berth following the disappointment of a three-win season in 2018.
"We just need to make the right tweaks where they are needed," Nelson said in reference to the Magpies' season prospects.
"But we also need to be respectful of our opponents and know their strengths and weaknesses."
Nelson was one of the keys to victory against Adelaide with 52 goals from 59 attempts at 88 per cent efficiency, boosting her season average to 45 goals per match.
The goal shooter anticipates a tough challenge from the Fever, who were grand finalists last season, and hit form last week in a draw against ladder leader Melbourne Vixens.
"I know for sure they are going to come with 110 per cent to win against us," Nelson said.
"We will need to stick to our plan and not be so caught up in their fast-break play.
"We need to remain short and sharp and always have open options. "
The Magpies-Fever clash starts at 3pm. Doors open at 2pm.
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