Mahalia Cassidy’s journey to 50 National League Games is a story of hard work, talent and incredible resilience.
In fact, it’s a game that the midcourter often thought would never eventuate… but she is poised to run out in the milestone match against West Coast Fever on Saturday with Sunshine Coast Lightning.
“It’s a milestone that I didn’t think I would ever make – so it has been cool to reflect on that this week but it is just another game, we’re out there to get the win,” Cassidy said.
“I’m thoroughly enjoying being part of the Lightning team – I am enjoying myself, I am enjoying my netball that I am putting out on court and what we’ve been putting out as a team.
“It’s been great connecting with other Queenslanders that I played with when I was younger – it’s a full circle moment.”
Queensland pathways turned Lightning teammate Cara Koenen also shares the 50 game milestone with Cassidy on Saturday against West Coast Fever.
Vicki Wilson believes Cassidy’s “full circle moment” is more than just serendipity.
“Everything that you do – no matter if it’s defensively or in attack – it’s about timing, it’s about your ability to read a situation and draw on your great attributes as a player,” Wilson said.
“I mentioned it to the players earlier – there’s a reason why they’re here and their teammate they played alongside of when they were 13 is here too – they have tremendous natural ability and they are hard workers and intelligent netballers and that is what makes the difference.
“We need to keep drawing on their strengths and keep producing the great netball we know they are capable of.”
A feature in Cassidy’s game this season has been a shift to Wing Defence, which has been a surprising but enjoyable move for the midcourter.
“I am loving the challenge of Wing Defence – it’s crazy I always thought I didn’t have a really strong defensive game as a Centre,” she said.
“But I feel like coming into Lightning this year they have such a strong defensive end and I’ve learnt a lot.
“I’ve really enjoyed the relationship I’ve built with Maddy McAuliffe, whether I’m in Centre or Wing Defence and vice versa – and I feel like that’s just getting stronger.”
Cassidy joined Lightning ahead of Season 2021 after earning her stripes with Queensland Firebirds. Although 2 injury disrupted seasons in 2017 and 2019 prevented the midcourter from reaching the 50 games until now.
Sunshine Coast Lightning will take on West Coast Fever at RAC Arena in Perth on Saturday evening, with the match broadcast on the Netball Live Mobile App and across Telstra TV.