NETBALL: Intensity at Sunshine Coast Lightning training sessions will lift each week for the next month, as the fledgling club's stars begin to filter into the core squad.
At the end of week-three of Lightning's first pre-season, coach Noeline Taurua said the players had already put in place the foundations for a successful culture.
She said it would only be strengthened when the club welcomes English gun Geva Mentor on Monday, followed by Diamonds shooter Caitlin Bassett and Kiwi sensation Laura Langman the following week.
Bassett has this week been nominated among Australian sport's most popular figures for the ABC Sports Personality of the Year.
She joined the likes of cyclist Anna Meares, world champion surfer Tyler Wright, gold medal hero Mack Horton and Australian rugby league captain Cameron Smith as nominees for the awards on December 14.
Taurua said the intensity of the entire squad, which includes Sunshine Coast training partners Ashlee Unie and Dominque Scott, was lifted when former Suncoast Lynx and New South Wales Swifts attacking weapon Steph Wood entered the fray earlier this week.
She expects it to intensify even more when Bassett, Langman and Mentor arrive.
"From now on, every week is going to present something different, something new," she said.
"Some of our firepower is coming in ... when Steph came on Monday I noted how much the tempo actually lifted and the intensity. I'm feeling every week we're starting to lift."
Taurua said there was still some hurdles to overcome, with a number of the squad engaged in university exams, including training partners Unie and tall talent Ashlen Garrett.
But she made special mention of their fitness and skills in comparison to the already established premier netball players.
"Usually at home (in New Zealand) you could see the gaps," Taurua said.
"You can see the huge difference between the top players and the level underneath. The great thing about this (group) is the gaps are small and minute. Now it's just looking at the individuals and their body and what they need individually to perform and go to the next step."
The side yesterday met with key stakeholders from Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the Melbourne Storm, who worked tirelessly to bring the club to the Coast in such a short amount of time.
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