Learning never ceases for Kadie-Ann Dehaney who is set to notch her 50th Suncorp Super Netball game when the Sunshine Coast Lightning face the Collingwood Magpies on Wednesday night.
Lightning are upbeat following their breakthrough in Adelaide and will be targeting back-to-back victories at Melbourne’s John Cain Arena.
It will be a fitting milestone venue for Dehaney who commenced her National League career in 2017 in Melbourne with the Vixens before the defender linked with the Sunshine Coast at the end of last year.
Lightning’s defence took a giant stride forward against the Adelaide Thunderbirds by winning enough possession for the side to post a winning score.
According to Coach Kylee Byrne, the message for Dehaney and teammate Kate Walsh is to exercise patience against the league’s top attackers.
The adjustment to becoming a regular starter is a big one for Dehaney who played most of her games as a substitute for the Vixens.
When the 25-year-old was handed an opportunity, it was mostly to fix a problem or make an instant impact.
The best defenders, with Lightning star Karla Pretorius one of the best examples, must be prepared to doggedly stick to a role even if it means patiently waiting for an outcome that could take 60 minutes.
“It’s a massive learning curve,” Byrne said. “As a defender you think you’ve got to go out there and make something happen or be a disruption.
“But mostly it’s about putting yourself in the right position and wearing an opponent down. That was what Karla was known for.
“It might not happen for you till the last quarter, but you need to be OK with that.”
All the statistical indicators from the win against the Thunderbirds reflected significant improvement for Lightning.
It was the first time this season they had outrebounded their opponents and now Byrne wants the team to begin making better use of that possession against the Magpies.
Fresh from an effective containing role against Adelaide, Mahalia Cassidy could be in line for another stint at wing defence against Magpies attacker Kelsey Browne.
The versatile midcourter, who is equally productive at centre, will be an important asset against the Magpies who are chasing a first win.
“I thought Mahalia was outstanding,” Byrne said.
“I like her in wing defence. It just comes down to work ethic and she’s got it.
“And this week will be similar. We need to try to slow their ball because they will want to move it fast.”