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Team changes for Round 3

Midcourt maestro, Laura Langman will miss tomorrow’s Suncorp Super Netball clash with Adelaide at Priceline Stadium due to a right foot complaint.

Langman’s injury developed following Sunshine Coast’s Round 2 win against Melbourne and the Centre had a minor surgical procedure to treat it.

The surgery was a success and without complication, and the 30-year-old’s foot has responded well to treatment. Lightning medical staff are confident the New Zealander will return to the court as early as Round 4.

Lightning Coach, Noeline Taurua acknowledged Langman’s absence was significant.

“It’s a shame because Laura is a valuable asset and a world-class competitor who wants to play,” Taurua said.

“It means there’s an opportunity to run with different combinations which is beneficial. I’m confident Laura (Scherian) or Maddy (McAuliffe) can slot into Centre and do the job that is required.”

Lightning training partner and Sunshine Coast local, Ash Unie has been brought into the squad and will become the foundation Club’s twelfth player.

A Buderim Firebirds’ junior, Unie went on to represent Suncoast Lynx, before gaining selection in underage Queensland and Australia sides.

The 20-year-old played in every preseason match and said she was looking forward to the challenge of Suncorp Super Netball.

“I am extremely excited and keen to embrace this tremendous opportunity against the Thunderbirds,” Unie said.

“It’s an honour to represent my home town on the national stage and I cannot wait to wear the Lightning dress alongside a phenomenal group of athletes.

“I am looking forward to testing myself at the next level.”

Lightning Assistant Coach, Kylee Byrne said Unie’s inclusion in the match day squad was just reward after her strong contribution during preseason.

“Ashlee is born and bred on the Sunshine Coast and it is fantastic to see one of the most talented netballers to have come through that pathway go on and take the next step,” Byrne said.

“With the absence of Geva (Mentor) and Karla (Mostert) on international duties earlier this year, Ash rose to the occasion and played in nearly every quarter of our five preseason games.  She came up against some world class athletes and delivered the goods for us.

“Ashlee has shown how much potential she has and taken every opportunity to showcase her athleticism and ability to gain the ball, particularly in crucial moments.”

Lightning’s Round 3 clash against Thunderbirds at Priceline Stadium gets underway at 12:10pm AEST.

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