NETBALL: She was once a talented trampolinist and Sunshine Coast Lightning's newest recruit Geva Mentor took no time to spring into action at her first training session with the squad at Caloundra on Monday morning.
The England international comes to Lightning as its most experienced player, having made her test debut at just 16 against New Zealand in 2000.
Her arrival signalled week four of Sunshine Coast Lightning's pre-season training, ahead of its first match against the Queensland Firebirds at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on February 18, only 87 sleeps away.
After she was introduced to the team by coaches Noeline Taurua and Kylee Byrne, Mentor wasted no time sharing her experience with the squad and led the warm-up.
After the hype which surrounded one of the new club's marquee signings, she said it was now time to get on the court and do what she does best.
"It's nice to come here and throw myself into what I'm here to do - that's play netball,” she said.
"I'm eager to build combinations and get to know the girls on and off the court. It's a real special time for me reigniting my netball and hopefully taking it to better places.”
Despite being a test player with more than 100 test caps and a two-time ANZ Championship-winning defender, Mentor insists she can continue to improve and make an impact in the club's inaugural season.
"You've got to keep challenging yourself and I think that's probably one of the driving things behind wanting to move to a new team, and particularly one that's established itself here on the Sunny Coast,” she said.
She is particularly excited about the prospect of introducing an elite sporting team to the Sunshine Coast community.
"I think that's probably one of those most special things about the Sunshine Coast Lightning now having a team up here and being able to give back to the community,” she said.
"You can already see with the girls ... we've got a really talented bunch and a lot of them are from Queensland already which goes to provide those role models hopefully for younger girls coming through, that they've got somewhere to aim at.”
Lightning assistant coach Kylee Byrne said Mentor's arrival had been much anticipated by the side and was eager for the squad to learn from a player with so much experience.
And she also understands the pressure that comes with moving to a new state and a new team.
"Melbourne was her home for quite a number of years so this is a whole new environment,” Byrne said.
"She's only played with one person (Kelsey Browne) here before. She said she'd be reserved this week but by the sounds of things, it won't take long to get that out of her system.”
Mentor is one of the final pieces of Lightning's pre-season puzzle to be put in place.
The squad now awaits the arrival of Diamonds star Caitlin Bassett and Kiwi international Laura Langman, who are expected at training in a week.
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