Big decisions loom for Lightning amid festivities
NETBALL: While the premiership celebrations are far from over for the Sunshine Coast Lightning, Caitlin Bassett says some "tough decisions” will now come to the fore for her outfit this week.
The Lightning claimed their second Super Netball title in as many years on Sunday after toppling West Coast Fever in a thrilling grand final.
Bassett said the Lightning kicked off the party with a few "bevvies” alongside club members and supporters as the sun set over the Indian ocean following the game and was keen to mark the feat with fans on home soil tomorrow afternoon.
But while the celebrations are in full swing, she said decisions on individuals' playing futures could no longer be avoided.
"I've already had a message from my manager and I'm sure a few of the other girls will be dealing with that stuff,” she said.
"It's been looming for the last couple of weeks and having the grand final, and having finals, has been a good way to push that type of stuff back but it's definitely something we're going to have to face this week and there's going to be some tough decisions I think that are going to have to be made by players.”
However, with the immense success the Lightning have earned she was hopeful the same faces would again rock up to training at Sippy Downs in 2019.
"To keep this group together would be amazing. I think it's not just been the people we have but what we've connected on and off the court the last couple of months so it'll be great to have this team together again,” she said.
"I know that every year is going to be different and obviously not having (Laura) Langman this year gave (Maddy) McAuliffe the opportunity to really step up her game this year and it'd be great to have this team going into 2019.”
Bassett said the significance of a second premiership had only started to sink in on Monday morning and was quick to credit staff and those behind the scenes as being integral to their success.
"It's definitely the people that we've got at our club and I think Noels is just that amazing coach that brings the right personnel together and we were very definite in selecting our team in not just talent but personality and our team definitely gels really well but also the staff that surround us.
"When you are happy off the court and when you enjoy playing with each other it makes things on court so much easier.”
Coach Noeline Tarua echoed Bassett's thoughts on the success.
"It's fantastic we are a new club and a new team and only got together last year so it's a massive achievement not only for us but also our region that we represent,” she said.
"I think the strength of our club or team is about us working for each other and the players are a good bunch of people and committed to doing what they can to be a high-performance athlete but also we've got great people who work behind (the scenes) tirelessly to make sure that we do what we do on court so it's definitely a collective strength of ours and for us to be able to come away and do that with our second (title) is amazing.
"Being able to raise that trophy at the end is huge and it's all a collective effort and I would never have thought last year that (it was possible), so it's (second title) definitely a bonus.”
The team's 62-59 win over West Coast Fever at Perth Arena stamped its name in Australian sporting history as the first start-up club to win back-to-back titles in its first two seasons. The Sunshine Coast Lightning will celebrate their Super Netball victory with local fans at a public meet and mingle event at Buhk Park near the Alex Surf Club from 5-6pm tomorrow.