Next generation of netballers to join Lightning

Sunshine Coast Lightning has welcomed four training partners for the 2019 Suncorp Super Netball season, bringing on board Ashlee Unie, Binnian Hunt, Sienna Allen and Chanel Dyer.

Unie – who was born and bred on the Sunshine Coast – and Hunt are no strangers to the Club, having previously taken on the role of training partners in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Lightning Assistant Coach Kylee Byrne said she was excited to have such high-calibre athletes on deck leading into the 2019 season.

“We kept a close on eye on all pathway athletes in 2018 and we believe these four have the potential to be Sunshine Coast Lightning athletes in the future,” Byrne said.

“After a year away completing her physiotherapy degree, it will be great to see how Sunshine Coast junior Ashlee Unie performs.

“She has expressed a desire to throw everything into this year and make the most of her second opportunity with the Club, and we’re thrilled to be developing this local talent.”

Byrne said with Hunt having overcome a knee injury, the talented shooter would be a player to watch.

“Binnian is one of the most exciting junior pathway athletes and to have a preseason with her injury-free means we can prepare her for some amazing performances this season.

“We look forward to a huge preseason with our training partners alongside our Lightning athletes and can’t wait to get started.”

Unie – who returns to the Sunshine Coast after a year spent in Brisbane – said she hoped the training partner role would be a stepping stone to one day playing in the Suncorp Super Netball league.

“Netball has always been something I’ve loved and pursued alongside my studies. With progress in women’s sport, it’s become more of a viable reality to pursue a career in sport and something I’ve always wanted, so I’m pretty excited that potentially one day my dream could be realised,” she said.

“I had the privilege of being a Lightning training partner in the Club’s inaugural year. The unparalleled performance record is one thing but it’s more so the culture and the way the Club goes about its business that really appeals to who I want to be as a player and a person.

“I’ve had a lot to do with Kylee Byrne through the underage pathway and my previous experience with Lightning. She’s been a great mentor for me so I’m excited to get back in touch with her.

“Head Coach Noeline Taurua is unlike anyone else I’ve come across in my netball journey so far. She’s got so much to offer; she thinks unlike anyone else and instils such belief in the people around her, so I’m thrilled to be a part of the world she’s created over at Lightning.”

Fellow training partner Sienna Allen, who debuted for Southern Force in the Australian Netball League earlier this year, said she too had been attracted to Lightning’s experienced coaching team.

“Joining Lightning is all about learning from the amazing coaches and players at the Club and continuing to develop my game. I want to be the best player I can be and hopefully that might see me receive opportunities to play at a higher level,” she said.

“Lightning really makes an effort to integrate training partners into the program, allowing them to learn from the Club’s experienced senior players. I am especially looking forward to seeing how the top players train and prepare for games.

“I love the outdoors and lead an active lifestyle, so I am also excited to explore the Sunshine Coast and visit the amazing beaches. It really is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.”

The newcomers will train alongside the 10-strong Lightning squad throughout the Suncorp Super Netball preseason.