The Sunshine Coast netball franchise, which will compete in next year’s new national netball league, was today officially unveiled as the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Led by inaugural head coach Noeline Taurua, the joint venture between Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is the region’s first national elite sports team.
Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, officially unveiled the team name at a function at USC’s Sippy Downs campus, with the team logo and website – sunshinecoastlightning.com.au – also launched.
Mr Jamieson was joined on stage for the announcement by Netball Australia CEO Kate Palmer, Melbourne Storm CEO, Dave Donaghy, USC Vice Chancellor Greg Hill, and Noeline Taurua.
The look aims to embody the determination and energy of Taurua’s team as it strives to be a force in the new competition in its inaugural year.
Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said, “Today is an incredibly exciting day to be able to present Sunshine Coast Lightning to the community. It’s exciting for the junior netballers, the fans, local businesses and the entire Sunshine Coast region. This is your team. The Lightning will very quickly become a great source of pride for all of us.
“The Lightning brand is the foundation and identity of this team. The Sunshine Coast is a place where you feel energised and can shine and we feel this name and logo is going to be one that the community will embrace and feel a connection with. Our focus was to develop a brand that would be relevant and resonate with our fans and the community.”
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Lightning would be another great addition to the world of opportunities that are available in the Sunshine Coast region.
“Our Council is proud of what has been achieved through this partnership and to be part of the consortium that has won this licence. One of the major benefits of being part of this ground-breaking new national competition will be the impact it will have on our grassroots netball.
“We can’t wait for the opening game and cheering for the Lightning when they hit the floor at UC.”
Taurua, a former Silver Fern, was appointed to the role of head coach earlier this month, is now tasked with building her inaugural team which will be based at USC’s high performance centre.
Netball Australia is in the final stage of negotiations with the Australian Netball Players Association and the eight clubs who will compete in next year’s league. It is anticipated that license agreements with clubs will be in place by the end of August, with athlete contracting to commence soon after.