Pretorius Takes Out Lightning Player Of The Year Award

A stellar season has seen Sunshine Coast Lightning Vice Captain Karla Pretorius awarded Player of the Year at the Club’s A Night With Lightning gala awards celebrating the 2019 season.

Winning the coveted award caps off an incredible year of individual netball from the defender, who was also named Members’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year.

Head Coach Noeline Taurua said Pretorius was wholly deserving of the Lightning Player of the Year honour.

“Karla is recognised as one of the best intercept defenders in the world,” Taurua said.

“She is explosive, clean, relentless and has a knack of getting ball at crucial moments to turn a game. We all ‘will’ the ‘Karla turnover’ and she always delivers.

“Karla demonstrates our Club’s values through behaviours both on and off the court, and is consistent in her approach and court conduct.

“Her outstanding contribution to the team has also been recognised by her peers and as such, she is highly deserving of the Lightning Player of the Year honour.”

Pretorius was also last week named in the Suncorp Super Netball Nissan Team of the Year at Goal Defence, meanwhile in July she was voted Player of the Tournament in the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Jacqui Russell earned the Team Spirit Award for a second year running, giving credit to her ability to lift morale, lead by example and consistently play her role for the team on and off court.

“Jacqui brings a lot of heart to the group, she is hard working but she also has an innate ability to connect with people, whether it be through humour or her relaxed, endearing nature,” Taurua said.

“She shows great care for those around her and is always willing to go out of her way to make someone smile or to help the team.”

After a breakout season on court, Cara Koenen won the inaugural Community Champion award for her dedicated work in the community from hosting clinics, event participation and going above and beyond in promoting netball and Lightning in the wider Sunshine Coast region.

“Community is so important to everyone at this Club but Cara has really shone this year through her ongoing community work and enthusiasm,” Taurua said.

“Cara has grown so much this year both in her netball and in her general confidence, you rarely see her without a big smile and that immediately impacts on others.”

Lightning’s General Manager of Commercial, Tayah Bot, was recognised as Club Person Of The Year for her strong leadership, ongoing hard work and Club-first mentality over the past three years.

“Tayah has been with the Club from the very beginning, and has played a significant role in building and growing our diverse commercial program,” CEO Danielle Smith said.

“This program, which incorporates membership, ticketing, sponsorship, marketing, merchandise, game day operations, media and digital, has become the benchmark in the SSN under Tayah’s leadership.

“Tayah is a wonderful Club Person, as she lives and breathes our Club values, and her passion and enthusiasm positively impacts all those connected with the Club.”

Volunteer Of The Year saw dual winners in Danielle Edmunds and Jamie Holland, meanwhile Caitlin Mary Neate was named Fan Of The Year by the Sunshine Coast Daily.

“Our volunteers, members and fans are the backbone of our organisation and it’s a pleasure to individually recognise Danielle, Jamie and Caitlin for their contributions this season,” Smith said.

A Night With Lightning also provided the opportunity for the Club, partners, members and fans to farewell their departing Head Coach Noeline Taurua after an incredible three years’ service.

The event was held at Pier 33 in Mooloolaba on Friday 20 September 2019.

Sunshine Coast Lightning Awards Snapshot: 

•    Player Of The Year – Karla Pretorius
•    Players’ Player Of The Year – Karla Pretorius
•    Members’ Player  Of The Year – Karla Pretorius
•    Team Spirit – Jacqui Russell
•    Community Champion – Cara Koenen
•    Club Person Of The Year – Tayah Bot
•    Fan of the Year – Caitlin Mary Neate
•    Volunteer of the Year – Danielle Edmunds & Jamie Holland