Terrific Trans-Tasman trials to tantalise Lightning supporters
Tickets to the Club’s first ever trial matches at the redeveloped University of the Sunshine Coast Sports Stadium will go on sale to members on Monday 30 January at 12:00pm AEST, while non-members will have the chance to purchase tickets on Tuesday 31 January from 12:00pm AEST.
Sunshine Coast will host New Zealand’s top Club, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel, on Friday 10 February at 7:45pm and Sunday 12 February at 12:00pm from Sippy Downs.
The Invercargill-based outfit finished the 2016 Trans-Tasman netball league regular season undefeated and will provide a litmus test for Lightning in its final fixtures before the start of the national competition on Saturday 18 February.
“The timing of the Steel matches is massive for our whole program and where we’re currently sitting,” Lightning Coach Noeline Taurua said.
“Not only is Steel a side which was successful last year, but it also has a successful history in New Zealand netball.
“It’s a great chance to run through our processes and routines as a team before we take on Firebirds in Round One of the competition.”
Taurua said she was looking forward to “rekindling” friendships with the South Island Club which she coached to the Minor Premiership in 2016.
“I have a relationship with Steel and I hope this connection between the two Clubs is long-term and we can build on this. It’s special for me and I know it’ll be special for Steel too. Invercargill is passionate and community driven just like the Sunshine Coast,” Taurua said.
Steel will head to Queensland without Silver Fern players Gina Crampton, Shannon Francois, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jane Watson, as they’ll be touring South Africa and England at that time. The Club will however welcome towering 1.98m Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler-Reid back to the team.
“They have class across the court. Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is a colossal at the goal shooting end, Wendy Frew in the middle as well as Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit at the other end– it’s a good mix in the group and we will be challenged,” Taurua explained.
Steel Coach, Reinga Bloxham, said the Club was excited to link up with former Coach and mentor, Taurua.
“The beauty of having somebody like ‘Noels’ in their ranks, she’s just taking everything and rolling with it so I’m sure the Lightning realise just how lucky they are to have a leader like her. It’s an amazing opportunity for us to go over there. It’s all new – the franchise is new, the facilities are new but the people there are already so welcoming and we’re really looking forward to it,” Bloxham said.
“Our main objective is to obviously get on the court and run some combinations against a quality side in a different training environment. We won’t have our Silver Ferns but it gives the others a chance to get out on court and experience that next level of high performance netball. It’s a wonderful chance for them to show us what they’ve got.”
The trip to a warmer climate will also provide an important team-building element as Steel prepares for an intense New Zealand national competition.
“For these players, even though netball is their job, they play this game because they love it. This provides us with a good opportunity to build on our team culture as well as our performance culture while we’re over there,” Bloxham said.
“It’s hugely important that they have an opportunity to just hang out in a different environment while living and breathing the game for a whole week.
“We’re really keen to link with the Sunshine Coast Lightning prior to our game days just to do some netball skills with Noeline and her crew – have a real run against each other in a training environment first and then get into some match play.”
The two trial matches form part of a spectacular weekend of sport on the Sunshine Coast. 2016 NRL grand finalist, Melbourne Storm, will host New Zealand Warriors at Bokarina’s Sunshine Coast Stadium in a trial match on Saturday February 11. The three consecutive days of elite sport will be unlike any seen in the region before.
“To be involved in this festival of sport is ground breaking and I think it’s an incredible opportunity for both netball Clubs,” Taurua said.
Lightning Platinum and Gold members will be treated to a wonderful weekend of netball free of charge (Category 1 and Category 2 seats) while Supporter members receive a 25% discount on ticket prices below.
Ticket Description Full Price
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Adult ($35.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Concession ($25.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Family ($90.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Junior ($20.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Adult ($25.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Concession ($15.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Family ($60.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Junior ($10.00)
Trial 1: Lightning vs Steel – Courtside ($65.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Adult ($35.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Concession ($25.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Family ($90.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 1 Junior ($20.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Adult ($25.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Concession ($15.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Family ($60.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Category 2 Junior ($10.00)
Trial 2: Lightning vs Steel – Courtside ($65.00)