Reigning Super Netball champions not resting on laurels
NETBALL: Recently re-signed Sunshine Coast coach Noeline Taurua says they're taking nothing for granted in their quest for back-to-back Super Netball titles.
The Lightning have retained nine of their 10 premiership-winning players and are enjoying a more thorough pre-season but there's not a hint of complacency from the club.
"We're not resting on our laurels," Taurua said ahead of two trials against Southern Steel.
"And the players know that just because we won it (last season), it's not an automatic right that we're going to win it again.
"Like all competitions, everyone starts from scratch and we're the same."
Taurua, who extended her deal to remain at the club until the end of next year, said the Lightning's priority was making the finals of this season's eight-team national league.
"It's about us going back to the drawing board and looking to secure a top four position and from there you work your way through," she said.
But her team is already ahead of where it was this time last year, with Taurua admitting her players had returned to training in good shape. They've already had some trials.
But they are without the services of Laura Langman, after the impressive mid-courter left during the off-season.
Her influence is still felt at the club.
"Laura was massive for us, not only on court but also off court, in regards to her professionalism and meeting the standards and we often talk about her and what she did contribute to not only the team but also the club," she said.
"But life also goes on and we've spoken about the opportunity for others."
"Maddy McAuliffe has amazingly stood up and we've also been looking at Erena Mikaere in the wing defence position as well."
The Lightning will collide with New Zealand domestic champions Steel at Dunedin on Thursday and at Invercargill on Friday.
Taurua, who hails from New Zealand, coached the Steel to the minor premiership in the 2016 trans-Tasman club championship.
The two clubs collided at the University of the Sunshine Coast last pre-season.
"It's an opportunity for us to play a different style of game and against a different style of game...and also to try different combinations," she said.
The Lightning will be without some of their key players, who are preparing for Commonwealth Games.
They will utilise the services of their training partners in the matches.
While the Lightning started their pre-season in November, the Steel only started their pre-season a few weeks ago.