Lightning player of the year crowned after super season
NETBALL: Inspirational captain Geva Mentor has been crowned Sunshine Coast player of the year following the club's stunning premiership-winning inaugural campaign.
The 32-year-old received the prized accolade at the Lightning's Gala Awards Night at Caloundra's The Events Centre on Friday, when she was also adjudged players' player.
Mentor, an England representative, was a force at goal keeper while her leadership was highly valued.
"Right from the beginning (of the season), Geva wanted to earn the respect of her peers and that's what she felt captaincy was about. She's done that on and off the court,” coach Noeline Taurua said in a club press release.
"She's been able to work with people, build relationships and get the best out of each individual.”
A former Vixen, Mentor linked with the Lightning late in the pre-season, following international commitments, but she quickly gelled with her teammates.
She claimed a most valuable player gong for her round eight display against the Swifts and was in the Super Netball team of the week on two occasions.
The 190cm enforcer was arguably the leading defender of the competition, claiming the most deflections (90) and the second most rebounds (41) and intercepts (41).
Mentor also produced an influential display in her team's 17-goal grand final triumph over Giants at Brisbane a week ago.
"Geva does a lot of prep work on herself and the opposition she's coming up against. Her netball IQ is amazing,” Taurua said of the three-time championship winner.
Mentor told media post-final that she relished winning the national league title with the Lightning.
"It's been a massive move from Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast... but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and and see what netball I still had in me,” she said.
"To do it with this bunch of girls and to do it as a regional team in this competition...it's probably up there with one of my career best (achievements).”
Meanwhile, the coach claimed the club person of the year award after guiding her team to the title.
Midcourter Laura Langman was recognised as the members' player of the year while centre Laura Scherian claimed the team spirit award.