Dual Benefit of Rolling Substitutions Rule

Sunshine Coast Lightning’s use of the new rolling substitutions rule had a multi-pronged approach in Saturday’s 18-point win against Queensland Firebirds.

The implementation of the new rule by the Suncorp Super Netball league was largely seen as a way to spread the workload across the playing group.

But Head Coach Kylee Byrne also used the rotations as a coaching tool, allowing players to spend short stints on the bench to analyse the bigger picture of the opponent’s game plan before re-injecting themselves back into the game.

Steph Wood credits Byrne’s coaching nous for helping the attack end have more of an impact in the later stages of the game.

“Firebirds came out and their defence was brilliant, they were throwing on this wall but man-on, then falling into a box, which is not something they’ve done much of in recent years,” Wood said.

“I think, for us, we were a little bit shell-shocked, they were quite physical, and I think we went a little bit within ourselves, instead of trying to help each other out, we went into help mode.

“I think it was great coaching by Kylee to pull us off and ask us in the moment ‘are you seeing what is happening’ and then inject us back in.”

Steph Wood said both Laura Scherian and herself benefited from the time on the sidelines and that helped change the tempo and momentum of the match after the first break.

“I think what Kylee did by taking Shez off and taking me off meant that we could see the game unfolding from the sideline, and then be like, ‘right what can we do when we go back out there?’

“When Shez returned to the court in the second quarter, it changed the momentum.”

The 28-year-old said the new ruling compliments the depth across the full squad of 12, which will become increasingly important across the condensed 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season.

“We’re not a team that can run [using just the starting] seven for this full season, we need to be able to come off and play everyone,” she said.

“That is a great strength of our team, even our two training partners may get the opportunity to get on court.”

This was further evidenced by the flexibility in Lightning’s shooting combination, which was on show on Saturday, with Byrne rotating all three of Wood, Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia through at different times.

While Koenen was rewarded with the starting position, Byrne was pleased with Peace’s performance under the post when given the opportunity.

“Peace had an impact when she came on and then Cara’s ability to come back on and really open up the circle with movement was pretty critical with that win,” Byrne said.

“I love that our 12 has some real diversity and we can adapt to most situations.

“So whenever something is happening or someone’s not performing, I feel like I have two or three options – you will always see with Lightning something a bit different happening out there.

“I also think it’s important for players to be able to get themselves out of situations themselves, especially when it’s not working, that way they build confidence in themselves and with their teammates.”