Thunder to hit UniSC Arena on Sunday

May 24, 2024 7:19 am in by
Thunder Head Coach Simone Nalatu with the team at a quarter time break during a game.

Some of the best netball talent in Queensland will be on display at UniSC Arena on Sunday with the Sunshine Coast Thunder in action.

The Thunder are the feeder team for the Sunshine Coast Lightning Suncorp Super Netball side.

The Thunder will be at home this Sunday playing the undefeated Ipswich Jets. (pic supplied by Graeme Thomas Photography)
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Six of Lightning’s training partners play for the Thunder, who compete in the Netball Queensland’s HART Sapphire & Ruby series.

It’s Thunder’s last home game on Sunday and they’re calling for home crowd support when they take on the TAE Ipswich Jets, who are undefeated on top of the ladder.

The Thunder are currently 3rd on percentages but Head Coach, Simone Nalatu, wants to finish the last home game with a win to improve their position on the ladder.

“It’s the next best thing after Super Netball,” Nalatu said.

“On the weekend it will definitely be a great showcase of Queensland talent from a netball perspective that sits both up here on the Sunny Coast but also from the Ipswich region.

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“So I really encourage as many people to come out and support us because we really will need that to put on a good show against the Jets on Sunday.

“What else would you rather do on a Sunday than to get out to the netball in your own backyard and enjoy watching the game,” Nalatu said.

Notable Thunder players include Annie Miller, Charlie Bell and Shannon Eagland along with Sunshine Coast pathway prodigies Baylee Boyd and Jada Delaney, who was part of Australia’s Fast5 gold medal team at the Trinbago 2023 Commonwealth Youth Games.

Maddie Hinchliffe is Thunder captain when she’s not filling in for the Super Netball side.

“We’ve got some great players with lots of experience as well as some up and coming talent,” Nalatu said.

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“The Ipswich Jets are currently undefeated who we will play on Sunday and so it will be a great test for us to see where we’re at in the season.

“We’re really looking forward to the contest. It’ll be our last home game for the season so we’re really hoping that we can get as
many Sunny Coast fans there as possible to really try and get us across the line for this game because it will signify the end of Round 1 for us.

The current Lightning team is made up entirely of Australian players but Simone Nalatu dreams that one day the elite side will consist of mostly local talent.

“Jada and Baylee are great examples of athletes that have come through that Ruby pathway and now sit in our Sapphire team and are training partners as well for the Lightning.

“So hopefully it shows to all young netballers on the Sunny Coast that there is a real pathway and that hopefully one day our team will be filled with Sunny Coast players in that Lightning team in the future,” Nalatu said.

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So head out to UniSC Arena this Sunday to see the next Super Netball stars in action.

Doors open at 10.30am with the Ruby side playing the TAE Ipswich Jets at 11am and the Sapphires take on the Jets at 1pm.

Entry to both games is free and there will be a coffee van and sausage sizzle on site.

You never know who you might run into and you could win a signed Lightning ball.