EXCLUSIVE: Lightning has perfect Mentor for captain
SO DETERMINED was Sunshine Coast Lightning to chose the perfect captain for its inaugural netball season, the interview process which culminated in English star Geva Mentor being selected finished just four days out from the club's debut match.
Mentor, 32, was "incredibly honoured" to be chosen to lead the team into an historic clash against Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane on Saturday.
"It's probably made me quite nervous just because I want to do such an amazing job," she said.
Arriving as a fresh-faced 22-year-old at Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2008 before a move to Melbourne Vixens, Mentor has watched the sport's rise through the professional ranks for the past decade.
She identified one of her key roles as being an approachable leader who can guide younger players into the unknown.
"For me as a captain, it's really important to encourage others in the team to celebrate their strengths and show confidence in their ability. I must make sure I'm approachable but at the same time take a stance for the club and for the team."
Mentor arrived back in Australia from international duties last week and noted a marked improvement in the side since she left.
Lightning lost four practice matches on the trot, largely thanks to sluggish opening quarters, before it recorded two sizeable wins against NZ-based outfit Southern Steel at the weekend to finalise its Super Netball preparations.
"It was great to see the girls work it out," Mentor said, before going on to say the team must remain focussed to take on the defending champions.
"It's important for us to establish our brand, concentrate on ourselves and cement our on-court combinations."
Some tickets to Saturday night's clash are still available at Ticketek.
Sunshine Coast Lightning's first home match will be against Mentor's old club, the Melbourne Vixens, on Sunday, February 26 at the new-look University of the Sunshine Coast Stadium (12pm).