LEADERS: Sunshine Coast Lightning captain Geva Mentor and coach Noeline Taurua.
LEADERS: Sunshine Coast Lightning captain Geva Mentor and coach Noeline Taurua. Patrick Woods

Reigning champions keen to press on in 2018

NETBALL: They were the best team in the country last year but the Sunshine Coast Lightning aren't resting on their laurels leading into the second edition of Super Netball.

The Sippy Downs-based outfit will start a new campaign with a grand final replay against the Giants at Sydney on Sunday.

And there's little chance of complacency as they start the journey, according to team leaders.

"It's about stepping in and building from what we did (last season)," captain Geva Mentor said.

"We can obviously bank last year but we don't want to settle on that. We want to be improving as a club, as a team, as individuals."

"So each time we step on court we're solidifying our game plan, we're finding our brand of netball, we're making sure we're enjoying what we're doing and hopefully those results will come."

Coach Noeline Taurua said their first season as a club was a great one but that does not entitle them to anything this time around.

"We got the monkey off the back in regards to winning the inaugural cup and that's been massive for our club and our community," she said.

"But like everybody else we start (the new season) from scratch and everybody (in the squad) needs to work hard and smart. We don't take anything for granted."

There's been just one change to the Lightning squad during the off-season but Laura Langman's departure is regarded as a significant one.

International stars Mentor, Caitlin Bassett, Stephanie Wood and Karla Pretorius are expected to be key personnel for the team again.

They're coming off the back of the Commonwealth Games.

"Now that they are back we can sort of consolidate and build our team," Taurua said.

"They always come back (from international duties) with something new and refreshing and we, as much as we can, try and incorporate it into the Lightning program.

"On the flip side, I know they are looking forward to getting back into our systems."

Meanwhile, the Lightning's round one opponent appears to boast a strong squad, with the return of captain Kim Green, who spent most of last season sidelined through injury. Giants attacker Jo Harten could be marked by fellow England representative and Games gold medal winner Mentor.

Taurau said they won't be trying anything too spectacular in their opening game.

"It's about us working on we've been doing in the pre-season and not getting too carried away with ourselves and hopefully playing some simple netball," she said.

"At times it may not look good but hopefully we can just do the job of getting the ball, keeping the ball and putting it through the hoop basically."

 

SCHEDULE

Giants away, April 29, 1pm

Firebirds away, May 6, 1pm

Fever at home, May 12, 5pm

Magpies away, May 20, 1pm

Thunderbirds at home, May 27, 3pm

Vixens at home, June 2, 3pm

Swifts away, June 17, 3pm

Giants at home, June 23, 3pm

Firebirds at home, July 1, 1pm

Fever away, July 7, 7pm

Magpies at home, July 14, 3pm

Thunderbirds away, July 22, 12.30pm

Swifts at home, July 28, 3pm

Vixens away, August 5, 1pm



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