Lightning provides 2019 player preview

Sunshine Coast Lightning has provided a sneak peek into its 2019 line-up, revealing half of its 10-strong squad today.

Foundation players Steph Wood, Karla Pretorius, Laura Scherian, Madeline McAuliffe and Cara Koenen have all re-signed for the 2019 season.

Lightning Head Coach Noeline Taurua said she was thrilled to have the athletes on board for another year and felt the 2019 line-up was shaping up well.

“All five of these players are incredibly talented and it’s their hard work and dedication on and off the court that has seen them develop into outstanding netballers,” Taurua said.

“I’m looking forward to working with them again, building on their skills and seeing what we can achieve over the coming year.

“Being based on the Sunshine Coast, it’s great to have so many Queensland locals in our line-up.”

The squad also features South African-born player Karla Pretorius, who has earned a reputation throughout the 2018 season as a dogged defender. Pretorius took the most intercepts of any player in the league and has been named in the 2018 Suncorp Super Netball Team of the Year.

Taurua said Pretorius was a king pin in Lightning’s defence and someone who consistently delivered strong performances on court.

“Karla’s very tenacious and both mentally and physically tough. She’s a big game-breaker for us.

“Having represented South Africa on the international stage for many years, Karla has the experience and smarts to take on any opponent.

“Maddy McAuliffe has also grown from strength to strength over the past year and played an instrumental role in bolstering our defence, so it’s great to have this duo returning in 2019.

“At the attack end, it’s a privilege to be able to call Australian Diamond Steph Wood one of our own and I’m excited to see how we can enhance her natural talent even further moving forward.

“Fellow attack player Cara Koenen is one of our younger players and has continued to impress with her development over the past year, so we’re thrilled to welcome her back in 2019.”

Taurua said mid-courter Laura Scherian – who has attracted attention from the likes of Samsung Diamonds Coach Lisa Alexander in recent months – was a welcome return to the 2019 line-up.

“On top of her immense talent on the court, Laura is a true team player and brings so much positivity and commitment to Sunshine Coast Lightning.

“She is undoubtedly one of Australia’s rising netball stars and I can’t wait to see where the year takes us.”

Taurua said Sunshine Coast Lightning was currently in discussions with a number of other existing team members.

“Our grand final against West Coast Fever has naturally been the focus at Lightning HQ over the past few weeks, so many of our players opted to wait until after the game to commence contracting discussions.”

“We hope to retain more of our existing players and will also consider welcoming new faces into the fold.”

Sunshine Coast Lightning will unveil its full squad in September.

To find out more about the Club, please visit www.sunshinecoastlightning.com.au.