The four remaining foundation Sunshine Coast Lightning players inspire their fellow teammates in more ways than just on court leadership and performance.
As Mahalia Cassidy enters her second year at the Club, she admits the original four provide a constant reminder of Lightning’s beginnings.
While the Club is only heading into Season six – decades fewer than many opposing clubs – the sense of building a club from scratch and creating a community remains strong.
“We still have four foundation players here and they such a huge role in the team – they’ve been here for a long time,” Cassidy said.
“They bring the sense of where the Club has evolved and come from.
“Some of us may not always appreciate it as much because we’ve come in in years four and five – but they have been there from the start and have built the club from the ground up which is special.”
Community has always been a key pillar for Lightning and Cassidy said she immediately felt that impact when joining Lightning and making the move north to the Sunshine Coast.
The immense support from the region is unique to Lightning and something Cassidy can’t wait to further explore with (hopefully) less COVID-19 restrictions in 2022.
“Something that I really loved last year is the sense of community that we have up here with the Sunshine Coast,” she said.
“Even though we didn’t get to go out as much as we would have liked to, but it’s a real family up here.
“Also the family we have as a Club not just in the team environment but the whole staff.”
Lightning qualified for a fifth consecutive finals series in 2021, however bowed out after the Minor Semi Final.
The hunger for finals success has only growth within Cassidy since that fateful day in August.
“You always learn the most from your losses and that one hurt a lot,” she said.
“It’s always great to make finals but we knew we could do more than we did last year.
“We’re hoping for more of a normal season this but we’re ready for anything.
“That’s the goal – to be better, to get into that Grand Final and hopefully win.”
And Cassidy has no doubt the Sunshine Coast Members and fans will be right there by their side when that day comes…