Makailah Dyer is excited to be back at the Perth Redbacks in 2021 and her form on the floor is indicative of that. She’s currently the NBL1 West’s third leading scorer as she continues to take on the responsibility of leading from the front.
Dyer began her state league career as an import in Perth at the Redbacks back in 2018. She had a good season in a team that got within one game of the Grand Final before she went to the South West Slammers.
That Slammers team might have struggled but Dyer dominated to be the league’s second leading scorer and runner-up MVP to Stacey Barr. When the 2020 SBL season was cancelled due to COVID, Dyer took some time away from the court to work on her Her Hoops AU business. Having now decided to settle in WA, Mak was drawn back to the Redbacks for this inaugural 2021 NBL1 season
She came back to the Redbacks with a feeling of unfinished business alongside old teammates Jess Jakens and Denielle Ashworth, and the chance to play with 2019 Grand Final MVP Maddie Allen and an exciting young group under the coaching of Craig Allen.
The result has been some tremendous basketball with Dyer enjoying having the ball in her hands a lot of the time. She’s delivering 22.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists a game including a massive pair of showings in Round 13.
The dynamic guard put up 27 points, two rebounds, three steals and three assists in Friday night’s win against the Joondalup Wolves before again delivering 37 points, four steals, three assists and five rebounds in a narrow loss on Saturday to the Willetton Tigers.
Dyer was especially happy to help her team to the win on Friday but always knew it was going to be a tough double-header for the Redbacks.
“It was a big weekend. We knew coming in we were coming in we were going to have to have some big games with Wolves being No. 1 at the time and then we ended up knocking them off,” Dyer said.
“We ended up playing the new No. 1 team in Willetton and I knew I had to come up pretty big for us. I didn’t know 37 was going to happen, but I’ll take it.”
Friday night was always a game with a bit of added spice for the Redbacks up against their former coach Charles Nix and former teammates Kayla Steindl, Nes’eya Williams and Alix Hayward who are now at the Lady Wolfpack.
For Dyer to put up 27 points and lead the Redbacks to the win certainly made it a night to remember.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and for myself, Jess and Del we always love playing against the Wolves since we have a lot of former teammates and our whole former coaching staff there,” Dyer said.
“We knew it was going to be a good game and they are a tough team, and Kayla Steindl is an amazing player so we knew we were going to have to give it our best, and we kind of went back and forth, and we ended up gapping them a little bit in that fourth and then I think we kind of held on to it. But it was pretty much neck and neck the whole game and it was a good one.”
The Redbacks were on a high having knocked off the league-leading Joondalup away from home, but the Willetton Tigers were a different story at Belmont Oasis on Saturday.
Let by the duo of Sam Lubcke and Alex Sharp, the Redbacks couldn’t quite overcome them and the Tigers now sit on top of the standings in the Women’s Division as a result.
“I had never played against Alex Sharp before but she’s an awesome player and obviously that shows with the work that she’s done with the Lynx and the 3×3 stuff,” Dyer said.
“They are a tough match up for us because obviously we are a bit undersized with only really having Maddie as a true big centre.
“She and Sam Lubcke shot the ball really well and we started off pretty poorly. If you give the best team in the league a 10 or 15-point gap then it’s going to be really hard to come back from.”
Coming back to the Redbacks in 2021 and Dyer always knew how much she’d enjoy playing alongside Jakens and Ashworth once again, and also had great confidence she’d build a good bond with Allen as a guard-centre combo.
But one player she has been especially impressed by, among others, is Shenae Hartree who showed last year in the West Coast Classic as a 17-year-old what a shooting threat she could be.
“Shenae is a great talent. She is very young and you almost forget how young she is when she’s out on the court, but then when you get off the court and she’s talking about her Year 12 exams, you remember,” Dyer said.
“It’s a bit crazy for her to have that talent and be so young, but she has been a great addition for us to be able to come in and back up JJay and Maddie. She can also shoot the three so I think when she gets a little bit more muscle on her she’ll be a real problem in the league over the next couple of years.”
When thinking about what she wanted to do for the 2021 season, Dyer always knew she’d be remaining in WA but where she would play became a big decision given the number of clubs keen on her services.
But for so many reasons, the Redbacks became the obvious choice for her and really, the club feels like her second home now.
“I’m definitely happy to be back and obviously I started my career here with Perth and it just made sense to return. I was really fortunate to watch all of the West Coast Classic and could see which teams needed a guard who could score, and could be a leader,” Dyer said.
“If I could do that two minutes away from my house at the first club I started with and that I’ve always had a soft spot for, then I think that’s amazing. Craig has always been in my ear about coming back and it ended up finally working out and I’m really excited to be back home here at the Redbacks.
“Obviously my family is here now at the club, it’s two minutes from my house and it’s really just the community. They welcomed me in with open arms in 2018 and you don’t forget that as an import when you get treated well, and can build relationships with the staff, players and even the WABL kids.
“It’s just incredible and the changes I can see from 2018 to now are huge in terms of how the club and it’s something I was excited to be part of again.”