While all the attention has been on Super Netball goal shooters, the introduction of the Super Shot rule has had the most impact on defenders, according to Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Kylee Byrne.
The national competition introduced the controversial rule, allowing shooters to score double points from a designated area at the back of the goal circle in the last five minutes of each quarter.
The two-time champion Lightning opened their season with a commanding 66-48 win over the Firebirds, making the most of Super Shot to nail 11 from 13, with goal attack Steph Wood doing most damage with 10 from 11.
Through South African defending duo Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni they managed to restrict the Firebirds to 50 per cent – their goalers making six from 12 Super Shots.
Byrne said the Super Shot was a strength for her team.
“I always knew it was Steph’s range – traditionally she’s been very good at that range of shot and she just had a really hot hand on the day,” Byrne told AAP.
“I do believe it was actually defence that won that game for us.
“While a lot of the attention has been on Steph and the Super Shot, to keep a team like the Firebirds to only six goals in the last quarter and 18 for the half, it was that real sustained defensive pressure that got us there.”
Byrne said it had been a big adjustment for the defenders who now had to keep players away from the Super Shot zone – so push them toward the goal ring rather than away.
“We’re trying to still work it out,” Byrne said.
“I personally think it affects the defenders more.
“The range isn’t that long for some shooters anyway so it’s more the defenders who now have to go totally against what they’ve been taught their whole lives and try to push them to post rather than away.
“I think we will see over the weeks you will see different defence strategies and plays come in in the defence end more than the attack end.”
Byrne said they were blessed to have the experience of Pretorius and Maweni.
“Even the understanding between the two of them with their South African international experience so they’re ability to read each other and fill that space is a pretty good strength to have.”
The Giants and Thunderbirds kick-off round two on Saturday in Brisbane followed by Firebirds and Vixens, while the Sunday games on the Sunshine Coast see the Lightning and Magpies meet and then Swifts and Fever.