Reward For Effort As Lawrie Elevated To Squad

Annabelle Lawrie is both hard working and modest. No opportunity with Sunshine Coast Lightning is taken for granted, whether it’s a conditioning session, court training or a practice match.

When the 19-year-old first received the call from Head Coach Kylee Byrne to join Lightning as a Training Partner in November she reacted in disbelief, needing confirmation before she could allow the news the sink in.

There was a tinge of déjà vu this week when Lawrie was called into a meeting with Byrne and Assistant Coach Chris Voge to announce her promotion to the extended squad of 12 ahead of Sunday’s clash with West Coast Fever.

Lawrie has consistently impressed at training to merit the senior call up, but the announcement was still met with shock and excitement from the shooter herself.

“I just got out of a meeting with Kylee and Chris and they’ve told me on Sunday I’ll be making my debut for Lightning against Fever [as part of the squad of 12],” Lawrie said.

“I’m very excited – I burst into tears – I just can’t wait.

“It doesn’t feel real and I don’t think it will until I step out on court but it’s an opportunity that I will take with both hands.”

Taking that next step towards a Suncorp Super Netball debut is a significant milestone for Lawrie, who joined the Club as a Training Partner ahead of the 2020 season after impressing in the Netball Queensland pathways for a number of years.

Lawrie is a skilled shooter who can rotate between Goal Shooter and Goal Attack and is known for her ability to shoot from anywhere in the circle.

Despite the disruption of COVID-19 and stints of isolation, she has immediately made an impression among the group.

“It’s such a family team – living with Cara [Koenen], they all feel like my sisters and Kylee and Chris are amazing,” she said.

Super Netball teams are allowed to name 12 players instead of the normal squad of 10 each round in 2020 to accommodate for the condensed season.

When the announcement on the new ruling and concessions was made, Lawrie set her eye on gaining one of those spots.

However, knowing the spread of talent, skill and experience amongst Lightning’s full contingent of Training Partners, Lawrie knew selection would not be an easy task.

Now the opportunity presents, she is eager to commit herself 100 per cent and put her hand up for future selection.

“When the extended squad was announced I knew I might have a chance but I knew it would be hard,” she said.

“I will take every ball with two hands and look straight down that court at the end of the day.”