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'An inspiration to youngsters to never give up': midcourter praised after seven years with team

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A foundation member of the Sunshine Coast Lightning, who has been dubbed a legend of the club and a fan favourite, won’t return to the court with the Super Netball side.

Laura Scherian, 35, was not offered a contract by the club for 2024.

The hard-working midcourter said she was saddened to leave in that fashion but she relished her time with the Lightning.

“While the decision was not mine and I am disappointed with how my time at Lightning ended, I am extremely grateful for the opportunities and experiences,” she said via a Lightning media release.

“I believe life is about interactions with others and the little moments that matter.

“My journey at this club has gifted me countless cherished memories and relationships with so many extraordinary individuals.

“This has not only shaped me as a player but also a person.

“The community’s love and unwavering support has been beyond words, and for this reason the Sunshine Coast has a special place in my heart.

“I will miss the community events, I truly loved this part of being a Lightning player.

“Although it’s not the way I wanted it to end and it hurts, I can be grateful for experiencing something many others dream of.”

Scherian was informed she will not be offered another contract as negotiations continue between Netball Australia and the Australian Netball Players’ Association regarding the Collective Player Agreement.

Scherian played with the Queensland Firebirds in 2010 before waiting seven years for a call-up to another top-tier team, when the Lightning signed her prior to their inaugural season in 2017.

She helped them on a run of success, including winning titles in 2017 and 2018 and featuring in five finals series. She also made her debut for Australia in 2019.

She was heavily involved in community engagement and was the recipient of two Lightning Community Champion awards (2020 and 2022).

Laura Scherian, centre, after a semi-final win at home in 2019. Picture: AAP

Storm Group and Lightning CEO Justin Rodski said she was instrumental in the club’s success and she left a lasting legacy.

“Laura is a legend of the club and has made a remarkable impact on the Sunshine Coast community since she was first named a foundation player in 2017,” he said.

“She will always be a Lightning person, and leaves a lasting legacy for the role she played in building the culture, and setting the standards of our club.

“Laura is a hard-working athlete and one that is highly respected by her peers, notably for her speed, skills and work ethic.

“As a two-time premiership winner and major contributor to the club’s success over the last seven years, she should feel immensely proud of all that she has achieved during her time at Lightning.

“I wish her nothing but the best for what she decides to do next, and she will always be part of the Lightning family.”

Lightning head coach Belinda Reynolds said Scherian left her mark at Lightning, as a fierce competitor on the court and an influential contributor to the holistic success of the club.

“Laura is a legend of our club and a much-loved member of the Sunshine Coast community,” she said.

“After playing at Lightning since its inception, she has been a major contributor to the club’s success and leaves a great legacy of energy and passion for the club.”

Laura Scherian at a training session in 2021. Picture: Warren Lynam

Lightning’s inaugural head coach Noeline Taurua said Scherian would be remembered as one of Lightning’s hardest working players, and as a person who consistently demonstrated the club’s values.

“Laura’s netball journey has been extraordinary and she is an inspiration to youngsters to never give up,” she said.

“Her pathway is a story of tenacity, of work ethic and definitely training ethic, persistence and being open to learning,” she said.

“On the court, Laura was a mid-court maestro. She brought impressive speed, game-smarts, deception and leadership qualities. She was the glue that gelled the team together.

“Off court Laura was a fan favourite. Her beautiful personality and passion she had for the club showed through in everything she did.

“Laura is a good story. She should be proud of what she has achieved so far.”

Career highlights: 2017 SSN Premiership; 2017 Team Spirit Award; 2018 SSN Premiership; 2019 Australian Diamonds debut; 2020 Community Champion; 2022 100-game milestone; 2022 Members’ Player of the Year; 2022 Community Champion; 2022 Club Person of the Year; and 2023 100 Lightning games.

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