She is the pocket dynamo that has already hit the court for the Mission Queensland Firebirds as an injury replacement player for none other than Captain Laura Geitz during pre-season in Sydney.
Now Mahalia Cassidy will be living her dream and playing in the ANZ Championship with the Firebirds replacing Verity Simmons who is sidelined with a fractured wrist sustained during a physical round two clash with the Pulse.
“It is an awesome opportunity, I am really excited and I can’t wait to see what I can do with this chance to play for the Firebirds,” Cassidy said.
The 19-year-old from Murrumba Downs who started playing netball at the age of 12 at Pine Rivers said she has been training hard and trying to improve and is not deterred by filling the shoes of two high profile players like Geitz and now Simmons.
“It is really disappointing to hear about Verity, she is a great player and will be back really strong. In the meantime I will try and fit in and do what I can to help the team,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy, who starred for the Queensland Fusion in the Australian Netball League (ANL) in 2014 said she is up to the challenge of stepping up to the next level and playing with star shooter Romelda Aiken.
“I love watching Romelda play, I have not had to much of a go with her on the court but I can’t wait to feed her some ball into the circle.”
Cassidy represented the 21/U Queensland State team at the National Netball Championships last week on the Sunshine Coast and played a key role in the mid-court helping her team bring home the bronze medal for the first time since 2009.
Topping of a week of solid performances the feisty mid-courter earned a place in the 21/U Australian squad.
“It has been a really eventful week. Nationals was really fun with all the girls but it was tough and I felt exhausted,” Cassidy said.
“So after winning the bronze medal, the selection in the Australian squad and being called up for the Firebirds, it feels like all of the hard work is paying off which is great.”
Cassidy had a strong hit-out with the Firebirds in Sydney which impressed Coach Roselee Jencke.
“Mahalia fitted in really well with the team when she came away with us for pre-season and was solid when she was given opportunity on the court,” Jencke said.
“She played extremely well at the 21’s in that wing attack position and her performance with the team at training and at pre-season earned her the spot.”
“All of this preparation has given Mahalia a good grounding to become a replacement for Verity,” Jencke said.
Jencke said Simmons will still play a role off the court with the Firebirds while she is on a rehabilitation program.
“Vez is a bright spark, she is really positive and will be working really hard on her fitness. She will be at training and play a vital role off the court for the team,” Jencke said.
“It is always hurts losing a player of Verity’s caliber and I felt she was really starting to play well and become very direct with the ball on the feed into Romelda.”
“That is certainly a huge loss for the team but now it gives an opportunity for someone like Mahalia to step up and I know we have enough depth to cover Verity,” Jencke said.