NETBALL: A long and prosperous partnership between Sunshine Coast Lightning and New Zealand's Southern Steel could be created when the sides clash for two trial matches in February, Lightning coach Noeline Taurua says.
The woman touted as New Zealand's best netball coach led the Southern Steel in 2015 and 2016 before taking up the role as Lightning's inaugural boss.
Taurua sees a number of similarities between the netball community at the Invercargill-based side and here on the Sunshine Coast.
"It's very community driven and focussed about that and has great people so there's similarities right through,” she said.
As Lightning prepares to play in the new-look national league, minus New Zealand teams, in 2017 it will meet Southern Steel on February 10 and 12, just one week ahead of the team's first official Suncorp Super Netball match against Queensland Firebirds.
Taurua said Lightning must be ready to fire when the trials roll around in a little more than two months.
"I think we've got to perform because it's the first time we'll get out there against a team,” she said.
"Realistically we're only five or six days out (from the Firebirds) so it's an opportunity for us to practice our routines and game structures. We need to be tidy. Not necessarily win, but we need a good performance.”
With the two sides not destined to meet competitively, Taurua believes there is opportunities to be had, not just commercially but also on the court.
"I think there's bonuses in a lot of aspects ... one of the things I've learned is the amazing resources we have here at the Uni and the climate in regards to training,” Taurua said.
"I can definitely see it being the start of something that's going to be amazing and forming a relationship.”
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