Pretorius Awarded Third Consecutive Player Of The Year Title

Sunshine Coast Lightning tonight celebrated ‘the year that was’ at the Club’s annual Awards night, culminating in the announcement of the Player of the Year winner, Karla Pretorius.

A total of six awards were distributed on the night, recognising the incredible contribution of players, Club staff and volunteers in what has been an unprecedented year.

Pretorius’ sensational 2020 campaign saw her awarded the night’s top honour, marking the third consecutive year that she has been named Lightning’s Player of the Year, in an incredible feat.

Her continued dominance on court and natural leadership attributes saw her edge out her fellow high performing teammates for the title, but Head Coach Kylee Byrne said the accolade was well-deserved.

Pretorius was also named Players’ Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, which only further illustrates the weight of the 30-year-old’s influence as a player, teammate and Vice Captain.

“Karla is arguably the best defender in the world but moreover, she is the type of person that is invaluable to have within a team,” Byrne said.    

“Being recognised with this award for a third year speaks volumes about Karla as an elite athlete and a person, she works incredibly hard to get the best out of herself but is incredibly gracious and will always put the team first.”

The member-voted Hostplus Sustained Performer of the Year award recipient was Cara Koenen after a breakout season in attack.

Koenen announced herself as one of the form shooters in the competition in 2020, culminating in Origin Diamonds squad selection at season’s end.

“Cara has been working hard over the past four years, so to see that reward for effort translate out on court this season was really pleasing to watch,” Byrne said.

“To be endorsed by our passionate Members is a credit to her and I’m sure that will give her confidence moving forward.”

Lightning prides itself on being a Club for the community – even in 2020 where COVID restrictions have greatly impacted on the team’s ability to interact and engage with our community in person.

The Community Champion award highlights a player’s outstanding contribution to the local community and in 2020 Laura Scherian went above and beyond to connect with Members, fans and community groups.

“Shez is a genuinely caring person, so it comes as no surprise for her to be named the Community Champion in a year where so many people faced hardship and personal challenges,” Byrne said.

“Her dedication to the Club’s charity partner Confident Girls Foundation and willingness to go out of her way to give back to the community makes her an incredible asset to our team.”

After an unprecedented season which included training in isolation and a condensed season, Maddy McAuliffe was recognised with the Downer Team Spirit Award, which Byrne said was highly deserved.

“The Team Spirit Award is unique in that it takes a special type of person who can influence their teammates, show compassion and at times brighten the mood and Maddy has each of those qualities in spades,” Byrne said.

“In a year like no other, Maddy stood up and put the team first, whether it was her approach to training, game day preparations or away from the netball courts.”

Club Doctor Matthew Dwyer was aptly recognised for his work in 2020 through the Club Person of the Year award.

The 2020 Sunshine Coast Lightning Awards night was streamed live to Members, fans and Club Partners on Tuesday 20 October 2020.

2020 Sunshine Coast Lightning Award Winners:

  • Club Person of the Year – Dr Matthew Dwyer
  • Community Champion – Laura Scherian
  • Downer Team Spirit Award – Maddy McAuliffe
  • Hostplus Sustained Performer of the Year – Cara Koenen
  • Players’ Player of the Year – Karla Pretorius
  • Player of the Year – Karla Pretorius