Koenen Adds Important Ingredient To Lightning Mix
Peace Proscovia’s commanding presence has garnered plenty of attention in her first four games of the Suncorp Super Netball league.
But Sunshine Coast Lightning are no one trick pony.
Fellow goal shooter Cara Koenen is consistently impressing coaches and players on the court and is just as important a part of the club’s attacking arsenal.
The 23-year-old’s mobility and spark in the goal circle is a dangerous point of difference and there’s no better example than Saturday’s clutch win against NSW Swifts.
“Being able to create a bit of movement in that circle, as opposed to being a tall timber at the back, is something I think the coaches value, being a bit of a game changer that way,” Koenen told the Sunshine Coast Daily.
Koenen replaced Proscovia at shooter nine minutes into the third quarter and created a headache for opposition coach Briony Akle, with her more agile combination alongside Steph Wood.
Scoring 18 goals from 20 attempts, Cara was influential as Lightning regained control of the game and remained dependable under immense pressure.
Koenen felt the lift in physicality of the game as the Swifts grew more desperate in the fourth quarter.
But going contest to contest against the bigger bodies is something that the goal shooter wants to develop in her game.
“[I’m working on] being able to take a strong ball because these girls are definitely doing their weights in the gym and lifting pretty huge stuff,” she said.
“You can definitely feel that, coming up against some big bodies on court, so (I’m working on) being able to take ball under pressure.”
Whether named in the starting 7 next week or utilised as a ‘super sub’, Koenen understands the uncertainty of who starts on court each week is nothing but beneficial to the Lightning overall.
“We’re constantly fighting for those 7 (starting) positions,” she said.
“Unfortunately there’s only 7 on court and 3 people have to sit on the bench.
“Week in and week out we’re bringing it to each other and we’re definitely preparing as best as we can for opponents.”
That flexibility within Lightning’s line-up also has the cogs turning in Coach Noeline Taurua’s head.
“We need to do a bit of work around shifting our thinking and challenging status quo as to how we use our full squad to the best of its capability,” Taurua said.
“We have players who are game-ready. Firstly, we need to get them out on court.
“Secondly, we need to be smart as to how and when we do that.
“I’m very happy that Cara and Jacqui [Russell] took the opportunity against Swifts.
“That has planted ideas about what we can do moving forward and the untapped potential of this team.”
Even better – Come support our Australian Netball League team the Territory Storm in the curtain raiser at USC Stadium from 5pm!