Mid-Season Review: Defenders

At the midway point of the 2021 season, we cast our eye over the players in each position and hear from Vicki Wilson on what to expect in the second half.

Karla Pretorius

Despite already being widely recognised as one of the best defenders in the competition, Pretorius continues to find new ways to grow her game. The Lightning Captain has led by example, and yet again comes up with the ball just when it’s needed. Lightning’s depth this season has seen the Goal Defender also spend more time at Wing Defence, providing the team with a new dynamic out the front.

Vicki Wilson: Karla is the ever-reliable presence in our back line. She is prepared to do the hard yards to deny her opponent attacking opportunities. She provides smart defensive pressure in the circle, forcing her opponent into uncomfortable positions.

Phumza Maweni

2020 was a breakout season for Maweni and this year has seen the defender elevate her game further. Working in tandem with Pretorius, they have created a formidable pairing – with Maweni given more licence to hunt the ball and be creative in attack as well as playing a shutdown role.

Vicki Wilson: The unsung hero of the defensive end. Phumi continues to grow her game both in and outside the circle. It’s great to see her forever challenging and repositioning throughout the game.

Kate Shimmin

Lightning’s newest addition in defence has slotted in seamlessly and has provided real depth across all three positions when required. Shimmin provides a point of difference with her incredible reach and tenacity. Whether paired with Maweni, Pretorius or out in front, Shimmin can be brings something completely different to the unit and keeps our opposition guessing.

Vicki Wilson: Being faster and stronger allows Shimmo to stay in the contest for longer. Kate is a great link on through-court attack and she has great anticipation of the pass and the running line of her opponent.

Ashlee Unie

Unie is making strong progress in her rehabilitation of an ACL injury that she sustained during a pre-season match. Seeing the Sunshine Coast local come off crutches and begin to regain some range of motion and re-enter the gym has been pleasing. Ash has remained a pivotal member of Lightning’s squad and has thrown herself into a range of community initiatives, while also providing feedback to her teammates as a sideline observer in training sessions and games.

Vicki Wilson: Ash is providing another set of eyes and sideline support for her team. She’s also applying herself in other ways around the Club to remain involved – especially in the First Nations space which is of particular interest to her.

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