HIT GROUND RUNNING: Sunshine Coast Lightning's new recruit Phumza Maweni
HIT GROUND RUNNING: Sunshine Coast Lightning's new recruit Phumza Maweni Patrick Woods

Maweni keen to grow game to new heights

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast Lightning goal keeper Phumza Maweni believes immersing herself in a new country, club and league can take her game to new heights.

The towering 34-year-old from South Africa was signed by the Coast outfit in September following the departure of captain Geva Mentor and has hit the ground running since her arrival.

She joined pre-season training for the first time last week and just days later donned Lightning colours during trial games against Collingwood.

"It was the first time to play together as a team and everything was different for me and everything was just new,” she said.

"But, as a team we just gelled and the girls were amazing and (even though) they tried different combinations there were no gaps.”

Speaking to media for the first time since joining the club, Maweni admitted there was still plenty to learn but took comfort in having South African teammate Karla Pretorius at her side in defence.

"The style of play I think I need to adapt quicker to, it is sort of different from where I come from but for me it's not that hard because I have Karla here to help me with whatever I want to do,” she said.

"I'm full of confidence to play and compete because I have my sister around me so I'm just happy,” she said.

It's only early days for the Proteas defender, but she was more than confident her time with Lightning in the looming Super Netball campaign would be a boost to her game.

"(Super Netball) is the top league in the world and I'm willing to take the challenge and test my abilities,” she said.

"It's more competitive than back home and the pace of the game and everything is just different so I think to come here and compete against the best will make me grow as a player.

"I'm also looking forward to working with Noeline (Taurua) to get a different style of play because she's such a good coach.”

Maweni said she had witnessed a big change in Pretorius' skill and presence on court with the Proteas since she joined Lightning in 2017.

"So I thought if I can come here I'm also going to change and to build skill and everything as a player,” she said.

Maweni said Pretorius' experiences had played a big role in coming to the region and had lapped up every minute of it since arriving.

"As soon as we'd get together as a team (South Africa) she would always tell us what's going on over there,” Maweni said.

"So I thought OK one day I'll be there and as soon as I got a call from Lightning I was like 'Oh my god, it's a dream come true, Karla I'm in and I'm going with you'.

"The place is amazing and nature and people around here is so amazing and the beach is great and weather.”

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