- Tuesday 17 October 2017
Sunshine Coast Lightning will play more two extra home games at USC Stadium in 2018 as they defend their Suncorp Super Netball title.
Sunshine Coast’s season fixture is packed full of blockbuster matchups with a massive challenge against last season’s runner-up, Giants Netball, to kick off proceedings on Sunday, April 29.
Lightning will host its first home game in Round 3 against Fever, travelling to Qudos Bank Arena in week one before local bragging rights go on the line against Firebirds in Round 2 at Brisbane Entertainment Centre (BEC).
Lightning members and fans will only have to travel to the venue of the club’s 2017 grand final success once during the regular season, with all seven Sunshine Coast home games to be played at USC Stadium in 2018 compared to five fixtures in 2017.
The Coast club will not play Friday night netball in 2018, with five Saturday clashes and nine Sunday showdowns on offer.
There is a major change to match times, with Sunshine Coast to contest most of its games (six) at a more family-friendly time slot of 3pm.
“We believe the draw provides some real opportunities for Lightning next year,” Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said.
“Being able to showcase netball and Lightning to a national audience on the Nine Network’s main channel as well as on Telstra TV is a tremendous opportunity and it is great exposure for the club and the region.
“We’re pleased that all of our home matches will be played right here on the Sunshine Coast where the squad lives and trains.
"BEC is a good venue but it is not our home. USC Stadium is our fortress and where our high-performance set-up is based.
“There are no easy matches in Suncorp Super Netball but we are happy with what is on offer. Netball Australia has produced a balanced fixture with plenty of variety for our supporters.”
Lightning coach Noeline Taurua is also excited by the fixture.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to begin our season when we travel interstate to face our 2017 grand final opponent,” Taurua said.
“We need to prepare well in the pre-season and be ready to hit the ground running when we take on the Giants. The calibre of players in Julie’s (Fitzgerald) squad cannot be underestimated and they will be ready and raring to go in Round 1.
“Every week will provide a unique challenge and the quality of opposition will mean we will need to adapt and evolve as the competition progresses.
“The target is now on our back and we need to be hungry for success. Only time will tell if we can get the balance right and live up to our standards of 2017.”
Lightning will release 2018 membership and ticketing information next month.