Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning are excited to announce the inaugural Suncorp Spirit Cup will take place at the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday 5 March.

The pre-season match, brought to you by Suncorp, will see an early Queensland derby as both teams continue preparations ahead of the 2022 season.

The Suncorp Spirit Cup will become an annual event, played across differing regional venues each year – ensuring more Queenslanders can experience the thrill of live netball at the highest level.

The event further confirms Suncorp’s dedication to both elite netball and grassroots pathways, supporting their partnerships with the Suncorp Super Netball and Suncorp Team Girls Cup.

Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said the Club is thrilled to partner with Suncorp and the Firebirds to create a pre-season match with multiple benefits.

“Fierce competition underpins any Queensland derby, so to partner with Suncorp and take these pre-season games out to the regions each year is an excellent opportunity,” Smith said.

“As a regional Club, Lightning takes great responsibility in promoting our great game across the entirety of the state and in highlighting the quality athletes and pathways that are in place outside of metro areas.

“A number of our athletes including Cara Koenen, Annie Miller and Reilley Batcheldor hail from regional cities and now they represent Lightning in the world’s premier netball competition and we can’t wait to see that representation continue to rise.

“The Suncorp Spirit Cup gives our athletes a quality pre-season game with match day conditions to help preparedness, but it also has the additional benefits for Queenslanders.”

Netball Queensland and Queensland Firebirds CEO, Kate Davies, said she was excited to see what the Suncorp Spirit Cup will achieve in future years.

“We are always looking for ways to grow our great game across the whole state of Queensland,” Davies said.

“Some of the most passionate and loyal members of the netball community live in regional areas, and there is such a large Firebirds fanbase on the Gold Coast, so this is an incredible opportunity to take the game to them.

“In the Firebirds squad we have Australian Diamond Gretel Bueta and Ash Ervin who are Gold Coast locals, so I know they will be excited to be playing in their home town and inspiring the next generation.

“This is also another fantastic example of what can happen when working in conjunction with two great organisations such as Suncorp and Sunshine Coast Lightning.”

Suncorp Executive General Manager of Brand and Marketing Mim Haysom said Suncorp was excited to be supporting both Queensland based Suncorp Super Netball teams prepare for the upcoming season.

“Suncorp is proud to work with both the Queensland Firebirds and Sunshine Coast Lightning and support their pre-season preparations,” Hayson said.

“The Suncorp Spirit Cup celebrates our commitment to supporting netball in our home state of Queensland and we are excited for this event to be a warmup fixture for many years to come.”

Suncorp, Firebirds and Lightning have engaged the Gold Coast Council to help facilitate and promote the match throughout the region.

The Suncorp Spirit Cup will be played at the Gold Coast Sport and Leisure Centre on Saturday 5 March 2022, from 7:15pm.

Tickets to the general public will go on sale via Ticketek on Monday 21 February at 12pm AEST, with both Lightning and Firebirds Members given exclusive access to a pre-sale this evening.

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