Mahalia Cassidy has continued to add strings to her bow since joining Sunshine Coast Lightning in the off season, most recently impressing with a shift to Wing Defence.
The tenacious midcourter, who has largely been used at Centre and Wing Attack throughout her career, has been showing her wares in defence and Round 9 was no different.
Her ability to shut down Hannah Mundy while aiding Lightning’s transition into attack impressed Head Coach Kylee Byrne and confirmed her reasoning for adding a third position to Cassidy’s arsenal.
“I was really happy with Mahalia Cassidy in the first half in particular, I thought she did a great job of denying feeds and assists from Hannah Mundy,” Byrne said.
“She is a bit of an unsung hero and that’s why we have her on wing defence at the moment.
“Her defensive pressure and relentlessness just can take people out of games.
“You won’t see the starry stuff so much but it’s what she does off the ball that is really good.”
As Cassidy approaches her 50th National League Game on Saturday night against West Coast Fever, Byrne said she expects even more from the midcourter in the second half of the season.
With added time to adjust to the ‘Lightning style of play’, structures and communication, Byrne believes the 25-year-old will only improve and build in confidence.
Lightning fell to Vixens in the final minutes of Round 9 on Saturday and accountability and composure under pressure were two key takeaways.
While Lightning’s trademark is to remain ‘calm’ and in control in pressure moments, they deviated from that on Saturday and allowed Vixens to chip away at the margin, eventually winning by 3 goals.
“When we were good, we were good and there was a sense of control and calmness,” she said.
“It’s when that the pressure comes on, how do we respond?
“Calm – we pulled that word apart in the changeroom.
“It’s fine to say we want to be calm but calm doesn’t mean stopping moving or hoping calls go our way or just passing the ball around.
“We still have to be doing enough work to score goals and in the last we only scored 7 goals in one quarter.
“We just went so away from what had gotten us the lead.”
Lightning are set to travel to Perth to take on West Coast Fever in Round 10, on Saturday 10 July at 8pm AWST.
The match can be watched via the Netball Live Mobile App or Telstra TV.