Tickets sold in lightning time

Tickets for a blockbuster weekend of practice matches on the Sunshine Coast between Clubs Lightning, Firebirds, Swifts and GIANTS have sold out in minutes.

Tickets to the four games at Sunshine Coast Grammar School (SCGS) went on sale this morning, and members and fans didn’t waste any time snapping them up.

The response was overwhelming, with the Club inundated with more than a thousand fans vying for tickets at the same time.

Sunshine Coast Lightning Chief Executive Officer Danielle Smith said the speed in which the double headers on Saturday and Sunday sold out shows how popular netball is to the local community.

“Our supporters have been right behind the Club since it was established and they want to watch Lightning play live.

“It’s fantastic that tickets were in-demand and there’s a healthy appetite for elite netball on the Coast.

“We understand that some supporters will be disappointed they missed out on tickets but there will be plenty more opportunities to watch Lightning play in the coming weeks.

“Our home court at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is being redeveloped and when finished, will hold just over two thousand people.

“With construction still in progress at USC, our preference would have been to play this weekend’s practice matches at our current training base, Caloundra Indoor Stadium, however it was unavailable to host the double headers due to a prior booking for a national basketball event.

“The Sunshine Coast Spinners 2017 Wheelchair Basketball Tournament begins Friday and runs across the weekend with athletes from all over Australia contesting the annual event, meaning that Lightning was unable to host three Clubs at the venue this weekend.

“Whilst this venue would have slightly increased capacity compared to SCGS, there still would have been a significant shortage. We are all looking forward to USC being ready for the commencement of the season proper,” Smith said.

The sell-out is a positive sign ahead of the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball competition where Lightning will play seven home matches, including two Double Headers at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre which can seat up to 10,000 people.

Those who purchased tickets are in for a super Saturday showdown when Lightning plays its first ever practice match against 2016 Trans-Tasman League runner-up, NSW Swifts.

Lightning midcourter Laura Langman said her former team will provide a great test for the foundation Club.

“They have a phenomenal set of skills amongst their playing group and it will be interesting to see how their squad has combined,” she said.

“We (Lightning) want to see how we have come back from our break, and see how much we need to improve before the competition starts on 18 February.

“For me, the match will be about information gathering, but also a great occasion to catch up with my former team mates.”

Lightning will be back in action the following day to face fellow foundation Club, GIANTS. Coach Noeline Taurua thinks it’s a great opportunity for the team to get valuable court time.

“I want to make sure the things we are doing, we are doing with quality and that’s my priority now,” Taurua said.

“I’m realistic that it’s our first hit-out in the big time and we need to take it one match at a time.”

As part of the bumper weekend of practice matches, 2016 Trans-Tasman League winner, Queensland Firebirds will also square-off against both Sydney sides.

Saturday 14 January:   Firebirds vs GIANTS    5:00pm
Saturday 14 January:   Lightning vs Swifts      6:45pm
Sunday 15 January:      Lightning vs GIANTS   10:00am
Sunday 15 January:      Firebirds vs Swifts       11:45am