After benefiting from the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball Queensland hub, it’s now Sunshine Coast Lightning’s turn to sacrifice home luxuries to ensure the league continues this season.
The team and select staff were uprooted from the coast with just hours’ notice on Tuesday, to relocate down to Melbourne after multiple Covid-19 outbreaks across the country.
It was a move done without opposition or complaint, but that doesn’t mean Head Coach Kylee Byrne doesn’t recognise the true impact it has on each individual and their lives.
“With the teams relocating to Queensland in 2020, we played and trained in our home environment ,so being away for an extended time is a new experience for us,” Byrne said.
“All our performance staff and players were given the choice to pack up and leave with no definite date of return and we were so conscious of the pressure it was placing on people’s families and lives.
“But as with everyone in our sport, we know our role in keeping the SSN going so it was a decision everyone was prepared to take on.”
The Coach herself has left her two school aged children at home on the Coast, in order to fulfil her duties to Lightning, with many players and support staff having to make arrangements for family, jobs and various commitments.
“I want to thank everyone within the group, firstly, for what they’ve done, but since we’ve been here the support from the Sunshine Coast and the entire netball community has been huge,” she said.
“We’re doing our job to keep this competition going.”
Byrne joked that the ‘1 bag per person’ allowance didn’t go down well with all players but praised everyone’s cooperation and quick response when asked.
Now a couple days in, the Coach said the team were rallying together and enjoying this initial phase and chance to bond.
“I’m calling it the honeymoon period – we’re all still enjoying each other’s company and experiencing what this new normal is for us,” she said.
“We will try to keep it as normal as possible with our routine preparation for matches.
“We had a great hit out down here this morning on court and the group have been amazing as per normal.”