It’s that time of year, where player contracts are up in the air for Super Netball players. For the Sunshine Coast Lightning’s Cara Koenen, the Lightning will always be home.
Koenen has been with the Lightning since the beginning, joining the club when it was first announced back in 2016.
“I really enjoyed my time here at the club,” Koenen said.
“Being a foundation member I think it’s not something a lot of people get to say, and I’m extremely honoured to have spent my time here.
“Kylee [Byrne] had a massive hand bringing me to the club through Noeline [Taurua] as head coach and her as assistant coach.”
“I don’t know what the future holds but I love Sunshine Coast and I’ll always call it home.”
Koenen is a much loved by the Sunshine Coast Lightning supporter base, which she feels both at their home court of USC Stadium and day to day in Queensland.
“I think we’ve got some of the best supporters here on the Sunshine Coast and I know that they adore all of us,” she said.
“We bump into them on the street and they have nothing but nice things to say. It’s nice to know that they are saying the same things behind your back.”
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Head coach Kylee Byrne has signed on for another two years, and Koenen said that Byrne has done an incredible job in these COVID-19 times.
“I’m really enjoying my netball and Kylee has done an incredible job in what has been incredibly challenging times.
“Her first two years in the head coach role have been in a very tumultuous environment being in COVID. I think she’s taking it all in her stride I think she’s brought the group together, especially this year.
“The time we spent away down in Melbourne especially she made a real effort to bring us all together off the court, and I think that only made us perform better when we were on the court.”
After a strong start to the season, the Lightning dropped off with a sudden move to Melbourne disrupting their season.
“I think we started out strong straight off the bat,” Koenen explained.
“We had some good performances, but obviously relocating to Melbourne – which now feels like a lifetime ago – kind of threw a spanner in the works.
“It was the first time we’d experienced hub life, and we were told within a few hours to pack a bag and get on a plane.
“That probably disturbed us a little bit but when we were good we were incredible and it’s just making sure we’re more consistent throughout the year, next year and we’ll be looking to build on that going forward.”
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