Sunshine Coast Lightning has celebrated its sixth Suncorp Super Netball season by announcing the 2022 Club award recipients at the annual A Night With Lightning event.

The first award for the evening was the Volunteer of the Year which was presented to Michelle Campbell-Burns.

Michelle has volunteered at the Club for the last three years as the Lightning Mascot Assistant, and was praised for her dedication, hard work and willingness to help wherever she can.

Laura Scherian ended the night with her hands full, bringing home the Wise Employment Members’ Player of the Year, Community Champion and Club Person of the Year.

Scherian was voted by Lightning Members as a stand-out on the court this year, while she was also rewarded her for the outstanding contribution she makes to the Club (both on and off the court) and her ability to live and breathe the Club’s mantra and values.

CEO Danielle Smith spoke highly of the contribution Scherian has made to Sunshine Coast Lightning since its inception.

“This year’s Club Person of the Year is simply an outstanding person. She has immense passion for the Club and has been going above and beyond for Lightning since our foundation year in 2017,” she said.

“She’s been a key contributor in shaping the culture of our Club and has once again demonstrated this in spades again this year.”

Scherian has also been incredibly generous with her time this year in the community, volunteering to assist with Club activities, playing a pivotal role in developing and growing Lightning’s grassroots clinics, and goes above and beyond to connect with fans and Members.

This year’s Coaches’ Award went to Lightning debutant Tara Hinchliffe, who was chosen as the player that best demonstrates the true spirit of Sunshine Coast Lightning.

“Tara took a big gamble to change clubs, especially in the middle of an injury. She was pretty much a stand-out for us as coaches, just how she went about things and the challenges she overcame, but also she just puts the team first,” Head Coach Kylee Byrne said.

“There’s nothing too big for her to take on and she’s always looking out for other people, so she was a clear winner for us.”

Mahalia Cassidy was awarded Player of the Year as well as the Players’ Player of the Year — showing her peers were in agreeance with the coaching staff on her performance this season.

Cassidy had an outstanding Suncorp Super Netball season, being switched out of her predominant Centre position into Wing Defence, and was able to shut down many of the league’s best Wing Attacks.

“It’s really nice when it’s someone that puts in the hard work and consistently shows up and is after that quality execution day-in day-out. And that’s where I think it’s really nice to be rewarded with Player of the Year,” Kylee said.

Cassidy expressed her excitement in receiving the two awards.

“I don’t have a lot of words but I can’t believe it and I’m very grateful,” she said.

“Sometimes playing Wing Defence, which was a new position for me, I felt like I was out of my comfort zone. I did a lot of work off court to make myself as prepared as possible and I felt like I had a very consistent year, and probably one of my most consistent seasons to date. It’s something I’m really proud of but also something to build on going into next year.

“The Members and the community that we have on the Sunshine Coast is so strong and I know that they’ll get behind us. I hope next season we can give them the results that we know we’re capable of.”

The gala event was held at Lightning’s venue partner The Lakehouse on Thursday 30 July 2022.

2022 Sunshine Coast Lightning Awards:

Player of the Year:
Mahalia Cassidy

Players’ Player of the Year:
Mahalia Cassidy

Wise Employment Members’ Player of the Year:
Laura Scherian

Coaches Award:
Tara Hinchliffe

Community Champion:
Laura Scherian

Club Person of the Year:
Laura Scherian

Volunteer of the Year:
Michelle Campbell-Burns

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