Lightning Defence A Team Effort

As Sunshine Coast Lightning fans celebrated Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius on the weekend, Head Coach Kylee Byrne took note of the work out front that helped set those moments up.

It takes immense skill and timing to win defensive ball but it also requires a cross-court collaboration to not only get into a position to create a turnover but also capitalise off the back of it.

“You get that hit of adrenaline when they come out and take a screamer, particularly in the times that we need it, but you know it’s been a build up and everyone has contributed,” Byrne said.

“Like any good defensive end and structure, it’s all about the hard work out the front.

“Phumza’s job is made easier when the Wing Defence, Goal Defence, Centre, teammates the whole way down the court are doing their jobs and denying that ball or slowing the play down.

“It gives the Goal Keeper the space and time to read where the ball is.

“That also works in Karla’s favour as well – we saw her at her best on the weekend.”

Byrne was particularly impressed by one passage of play late in the fourth quarter, which she dissects in this week’s TechnologyOne Coach’s Wrap.

“Phumza came up with the intercept at the right time just to deny the NSW Swifts another ball in those dying moments,” she said.

“What I was extremely happy about was what she did after she got the ball.

“We were calm and controlled, we didn’t stop our movement on that play, we kept driving, we kept passing, we kept cutting – and we really used our width and opened our vision down court.

“Under pressure we came up with the ball but we went on to actually finish it and that was a big turning point.”

Lightning’s 10 squad members have shown a real commitment to playing their role to benefit the wider team strategy in 2021 and that has continued to validate Byrne’s faith in this lineup.

“No one person is going to do all the work particularly in this competition,” she said.

“That’s what I’ve been proud of.”

Sunshine Coast Lightning will travel to South Australia this Sunday to take on Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Head to Parklands Tavern Yard Bar on Sunday from midday to watch all the action live as part of Sunshine Coast Lightning and Hot91’s Watch Party!