When reflecting on her first season as Sunshine Coast Lightning captain, Karla Pretorius said she was overwhelmingly proud of what the team had gone on to achieve.
Not only did Lightning qualify for a fifth consecutive finals series, but they also navigated their way though a challenging season due to COVID-19 disruptions, relocations and fixture changes.
Despite it all, the team came together as a cohesive unit on and off court, working hard to get better every day.
“I was honoured to Captain the team this season and I’m really proud of all that we achieved as a group,” Pretorius said.
“New faces in Kate Shimmin and Mahalia Cassidy slotted in seamlessly both on and off court and it was also great to see Maddie Hinchliffe make her debut for Lightning.
“Our eight wins were a full team effort and our training intensity went up another level, with everyone playing their role to help each other improve and keep each other accountable.”
Lightning’s finals campaign ended on Saturday when they lost to a determined West Coast Fever but the defender remains positive.
Pretorius said she hoped Lightning would get to play the full allocated seven home games at USC Stadium next season in front of capacity crowds.
“While we were unable to progress further through the finals series this year, we refused to give up until the final whistle blew – and I hope we made you proud,” she said.
“We know how passionate and invested you are. You’re right there with us, feeling the emotion of every win and every loss.
“While COVID-19 restrictions prevented us from playing at our home of USC Stadium after Round 8, we carried that support and energy through the remainder of the season.
“The games that were open to crowds at Nissan Arena were a welcome boost for our Club and I’m grateful to all our supporters who took time to make the trip – from wherever you are based.
“I can tell you, as a player there’s nothing more incredible than the sound of the crowd in full voice – it gives us that extra push to leave everything out on court.”