The Sunshine Coast Lightning have retained the services of mid-courter Mahalia Cassidy for the 2022 season. For all the Suncorp Super Netball signing news, stay up to date with our Off-Season Hub and follow The Inner Sanctum’s netball podcast, Over a Third, on Twitter and Instagram to get the news when it breaks.
After a strong 14 game campaign for the Queensland Firebirds in 2020 playing primarily centre, she began to share time at wing defence at the rival Queensland club.
It was a move that paid dividends almost immediately, bursting out of the blocks in Round 1 against Collingwood with a 27 feed, 17 goal assist, two gain and two deflection game.
She was a part of a dynamic mid-court which saw the Lightning make finals alongside the likes of Laura Scherian, Maddy McAuliffe and Kate Shimmin.
While it culminated in a disappointing loss to the West Coast Fever, Cassidy is looking ahead to bigger and better things.
“What I love about Lightning is that everyone is there to improve and win but also support each other along the way,” Cassidy said.
“I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of wing defence this year and building on those connections and relationships across the court.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what we can build on in the offseason and bring into 2022.”
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In what was a new environment after an injury-riddled few years with the Firebirds, coach Kylee Byrne watched her new recruit thrive.
Alongside fellow newbie Kate Shimmin (making the cross from the Thunderbirds), the connections were formed immediately.
Cassidy finished the year with 259 feeds, 150 goal assists and 22 gains, constantly dynamic and utilising her pace across the court.
Bryne isn’t under any impression that she doesn’t have room to grow and build on those on-court relationships.
“Harls has so much upside and I think we will see her really thrive and mature as a player with another pre-season under her belt with us,” Byrne said.
“Now that she has a stronger understanding of our Lightning game strategies and our language, I expect to see her really build in confidence and become that strong cog in our midcourt.
“What’s also important is how well she has gelled with the team off court – Mahalia is such a likable, upbeat personality and her presence in the team is very much welcomed.”
The Lightning have now signed five players, with five spots remaining. Laura Scherian, Ashlee Unie, and Karla Pretorius are currently uncontracted from their 2021 squad, leaving at least two new positions available.
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