Being appointed in the off-season, Nat Hurst is the perfect person to coach the new-look Adelaide Lightning side. Notching up over 250 games, she brings experience not only in the WNBL, but at the club.
Winning seven WNBL championships and playing at three different clubs in the league, Hurst becomes the newest head coach of the Adelaide Lightning.
Having served an apprenticeship as an assistant coach, she has been under the tutelage of former Lightning coach Chris Lucas, who has taken up the head role at the Melbourne Boomers.
With two new imports in Kierstan Bell and Jacinta Monroe, as well as a host of new talent including experienced guard Lauren Mansfield and young rising star Abby Cubillo, the Lightning roster is vastly different to years gone by.
Two people central to making this new-look side click are Hurst and her captain Steph Talbot.
Talbot was on hand at the WNBL 2022/23 launch, where she spoke about her former teammate and now head coach. She explains how Hurst has fitted into her new role so far.
“I love Nat, I love playing under Nat. She was great as an assistant so I can’t wait to see what she does as head coach but so far she’s been awesome,” Talbot told The Inner Sanctum.
“The girls all bought into what she’s doing and she’s really taken over and slid in nicely.”
Talbot gave an insight into what Hurst is like as a person, and how that will see her excel in the role.
“Nat is familiar, she’s super approachable and I know the girls kind of find her easy to talk to, so that obviously helps with all the changes and everything that’s been going on.”
Coming straight off the FIBA Women’s World Cup, Talbot has had some time off before joining her teammates at pre-season training.
Joining the set-up later has had its perks, with Talbot able to see how far the team has come in her absence.
“I came in late obviously after Worlds, but I was pleasantly surprised by where the girls are at from a chemistry point of view and from a playing point of view,” Talbot said.
“[It was] definitely [rest and recovery], [time with] family and friends, put my feet up, it was just nice to have nothing to do. I think I needed it so I’m fully refreshed and ready to go.
“[For me] coming off that win in the World Cup [and] coming back can be a bit weird at first, but the girls are playing awesome basketball and getting along super well, so it was super easy for me to slide back in.”
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She speaks about the feeling around the club, where it seems that with a lot of change comes excitement. They are looking to harness their energy and perform for their fans, not only in terms of results.
“It’s exciting… I’ve just joined the team and done a few sessions, I’ve had a couple of weeks off after the Worlds but it’s really exciting,” Talbot said.
“We’ve got a new coach, new owners, we’ve got a new essence in and obviously brought in some new players and the girls are looking really good.
“They’ve been working hard. The style of play that Nat’s got us playing is exciting – I think it will be a high scoring, high paced, high tempo team, which will be exciting and fun.”
One teammate that is not returning to the Lightning is the joint MVP from last season, Alanna Smith.
Electing to play in the Polish league this year, Smith was arguably the recruit of the year last season, playing in tandem with Talbot.
Becoming close friends off-court, Talbot speaks about how the focus will be more on a team game than the last season, where the pair were lone-contributors at times.
“I was literally chatting to her last night, I miss her for sure, not only on the court but off the court as well,” Talbot explained.
“She’s a great human and I definitely will miss her on the court, she was my duet partner, [however] we have added a lot of additions to Adelaide.
“I think we will be a bit more wide-spread as a scoring team and rather than just two main players, which will take the pressure off myself and it will be fun.”
The Adelaide Lightning will start their 2022/23 season with a road game against the Southside Flyers on Saturday, November 5.
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