Lightning’s 2021 Squad Boasts Versatility And Balance

Sunshine Coast Lightning’s 2021 season is beginning to take shape, with the 10-athlete squad officially confirmed over the weekend.

The announcement of former Queensland Firebirds recruit Mahalia Cassidy on Saturday rounded out Lightning’s midcourt stocks and publicly finalised the Club’s impressive athlete roster for next year.

Lightning’s shooting circle remains stable with Cara Koenen, Steph Wood and Peace Proscovia signed on for an additional year.

The trio continued to work in tandem in 2020, providing flexibility for Head Coach Kylee Byrne to present opposition defenders with a moving circle, two tall targets or a more traditional holding Goal Shooter under the post.

Koenen took her game to the next level, turning the eye of Origin Diamonds selectors, so expect to see her combination with fellow Diamond Steph Wood continue to strengthen next season.

Through the midcourt Laura Scherian and Maddy McAuliffe remain as Lightning veterans and could share time at centre with new recruit Cassidy.

The former Firebird’s ability to play Wing Attack will also bolster the team’s attack end, while McAuliffe is joined by elevated Training Partner Ashlee Unie to rotate through Wing Defence.

Defensive recruit Kate Shimmin – who has been a stalwart at Adelaide Thunderbirds, as well as a stint at the Firebirds in 2017 – is able to cover both circle positions, which gives Byrne even more versatility out on court.

The South African defensive combination of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni blossomed in 2020 and while Pretorius backed up with another sensational season, Maweni found her feet in her second season of Suncorp Super Netball.

Joined by Shimmin, this new-look defensive end could cause major headaches for opposition shooters and will be one to watch in 2021.

Further announcements around whether the League will extend squad numbers to 12 are expected in the coming weeks.