Melbourne University Lightning has a proud and rich history of providing elite netball opportunities for its players, coaches, administrators and support staff and volunteers.
The Lightning program is proud to have supported Suncorp Super Netball players Shannon Eagland (West Coast Fever), Kelsie Rainbow (Collingwood Magpies training partner), Gabby Sinclair (Collingwood Magpies) and Fiona Themann (Adelaide Thunderbirds). Our players have also been stand-outs in the Australian Netball League with the Victorian Fury, Tassie Magpies and NSW Waratahs.
We are equally as proud of our key coaching appointments. Championship Head Coach Elissa Kent (nee Macleod) is a former Australian Fast 5 Captain and national league player with the Melbourne Vixens, Queensland Firebirds (including their 2011 ANZ Championship-winning team) and the Melbourne Kestrels. Director of Coaching Karen Worland is also one of Australia’s highly credentialed coaches, having previously coached Trinidad and Tobago at the 2011 Netball World Cup. And Junior Development Coordinator Jocelyn Kassis (nee Bryant) had a stellar national league career as a goaler with the Melbourne Kestrels and Melbourne Phoenix (including being part of their 1997 Commonwealth Bank Trophy-winning team).
Lightning history really takes shape in 2007, when Netball Victoria announced their intention to introduce a new and stronger state level of netball - the Victorian Netball League (VNL). Existing State League Clubs, VU Flames and Altona Lightning seized the opportunity to apply for a VNL licence and forged a mutually beneficial alliance, and re-branded as VU Western Lightning Netball Club to compete in the inaugural season of the Victorian Netball League.
Victoria University played an important role in supporting the Club through the formative years of participation in the VNL with both parties enjoying a mutually beneficial and successful relationship. The six year partnership ceased at the completion of the 2014 VNL season when the Club aligned with the University of Melbourne, its principal partner and naming rights sponsor. The Club re-branded, became known as Melbourne University Lightning, and relocated its home base to the University’s Parkville campus.
Partnering with the University of Melbourne was an important milestone for the Club. The partnership has provided the Club with a centrally located home base (via the University’s sporting facilities on its Parkville campus); and additional resources to assist and strengthen the on-court and off-court operations.