BEING on the sidelines has never sat well with Emma Mahady.
The Lady Bandits point guard last week returned from a fractured ankle that kept her off the court for nearly two months.
Mahady's return coincided with a drought-breaking win against the Frankston Blues, a thrilling come from behind triumph that galvanised the team after a tough stretch of losses.
Originally meant to sit out the following game against Kilsyth the next day as part of her injury management, Mahady said she was feeling good after her first game and wanted the extra run.
“It's always tough being on the sidelines,” she said.
“We copped a few injuries at an unfortunate time with a few winnable games coming up.
“Having said that, the younger girls on the team really stepped up and did us proud.”
Mahady has a unique perspective on the club's steady building process – she herself was one of the teenage locals to put their hand up for some SEABL experience, before heading to college.
Upon returning to Australia Mahady had stints in the Big V and QBL competitions before returning home for the 2017 season, head coach Jim Wilson's second year at the helm.
Mahady has been a crucial component of the team's return to relevance under Wilson, and said she was excited to see how far the team had come.
“It's been great getting to see the girls coming through, to see the club building in general has been really exciting,” she said.
“It's been so good to come back and see things from the other side and help those younger players progress.
We're coming to the end of a three-year plan, the club have made massive improvements on the Lady Bandits side.Emma Mahady
“We're coming to the end of a three-year plan, and the club have made massive improvements on the whole Lady Bandits side of the club.”
Those improvements came to a head at the start of the season with the recruitment of Emilee Harmon, arguably one of the league's premier forwards.
While injuries have capped the amount of success the team has been able to achieve this season, Mahady is hoping the team can finish the season on a high note.
The Bandits host their final three games of the season at home, starting this Saturday against Hobart.
“We have to execute our game plan – we've worked on what they’re going to do, but we can’t let the take us away from what we want to do,” Mahady said.
“We have to be patient, take the right shots, but most importantly we have to defend.
“If we can keep teams to that 60 or 70 point mark we give ourselves a great chance.”
The Chargers are sitting on the fringe of finals contention, needing a win on the road to stay in touch.
There's plenty at stake for the home team as well – a fifth win this season would elevate them to their best record under Wilson.