Throw on your team colours and get ready to cheer - Moreton Bay Region will host two of Australia’s top netball teams in a pre-season showdown this month.
The game will feature local superstar Mahalia Cassidy, who was born at Redcliffe, grew up at Murrumba Downs and played for Pine Rivers.
The centre and wing attack will line up for Lightning against her old club for the first time for the clash.
“I think there will be some friendly fire,” Cassidy says.
“I was looking for something different and exciting, to take on a new challenge up the coast and playing with a different group of girls and for some cool coaches,” she says.
The former local girl is excited to be playing her first game in front of a home crowd and hopes it will inspire the next generation.
“When I was younger, I didn’t think it was a career pathway,” she says.
“Girls can look up to us and see it as a real career option … if they’re really passionate, it’s something they can pursue.”
Cassidy says she only returned to the court a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m really excited but will be a bit nervous, after six months off,” she says.
The 25-year-old says both sides have made changes, with no international players, giving them the chance to showcase the depth in their training squads.
Mayor Peter Flannery says this is a game not to be missed.
“I can’t wait to see this exciting local derby play out in our backyard and give local netballers the opportunity to see Australia’s top-tier talent,” he says.
“We’ve been rolling out the red carpet for a range of codes, from Super Netball and NRL pre-season matches, to hosting the Brisbane Roar women’s, men’s and youth games for the year. This proves Moreton Bay Region is well on its way to become the new home of sport in South East Queensland.
“Our Caboolture Netball Club already has a fantastic partnership with Lightning, so this event will further strengthen our ties and give Moreton Bay Region a taste of the national netball league.
“In fact, strong sign-up numbers in our region show we’re all raring to get back into sport post-COVID. Whether you or your family prefers netball, football, soccer, swimming, running, cycling or something completely different, this is the perfect reminder to book your spot for the next season while you book your Super Netball tickets.”
Sunshine Coast Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said the Club is excited to get out on court and engage with its loyal members, fans and new audiences.
“This is a unique opportunity to play Queensland Firebirds at the mid-way point between our two home bases and we’re thrilled to collaborate with Moreton Bay Regional Council to facilitate this pre-season game,” Smith says.
“Our players, coaches and staff are leaving no stone unturned in their preparations for the 2021 season, and it is exciting to now move into competitive match practice.
“This is the first of many opportunities for our members and fans to see Lightning this season and we look forward to a vocal crowd next week at Morayfield Sports & Events Centre.
“We encourage all netball and sport fans from Brisbane all the way to the Sunshine Coast to capitalise on this opportunity to see two elite Super Netball teams compete live.”
President of Warriors Netball Club in Woodford and Board Member of Caboolture Netball Association, Jason Wilson, says the game allows more people to witness a world-class netball fixture.
“Caboolture Netball Association and all affiliated clubs have a fantastic relationship with Lightning through grass roots community engagements and running clinics for various clubs during the year,” he says.
“Giving our young netballers the opportunity to see top tier sport in the Moreton Bay Region gives them the confidence that, with hard work and dedication, they too can one day be a professional sports person.
“This event will also showcase our great local facilities and may encourage other state and national sports to play at the venue in the future.”
Get your tickets today to see Sunshine Coast Lightning take on the Queensland Firebirds https://bit.ly/2OFFcAN
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Main image: Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Lightning