COULD PLAY: Sunshine Coast Lightning training partner Ashlee Unie was named  in the extended squad for the club's game against Firebirds.
COULD PLAY: Sunshine Coast Lightning training partner Ashlee Unie was named in the extended squad for the club's game against Firebirds. Barry John Alsop

Coast product earns call-up to Lightning

NETBALL: Ashlee Unie is on the verge of becoming the first Sunshine Coast product to play for the Lightning when they play Queensland Firebirds.

The 23-year-old was yesterday named alongside Sienna Allen as the extended squad members for Rounds10 and 11 of the Suncorp Super Netball league.

Each SSN team will have a 12-player squad in those rounds to help counteract any fatigue or injury concerns following the Netball World Cup.

It's the second time Unie has been elevated from training partner onto the Lightning squad after being used as injury coverage in Round3 of 2017.

However, she's yet to actually debut on court.

"It's something for three years we've been waiting for and hoping the time wasn't too far away that a Sunshine Coast junior could progress through to the game day squad and it's all happening this weekend and hopefully she gets to step out on the court,” Lightning assistant coach Kylee Byrne said.

"We watched her really closely in the Australian Netball League and this elevation is just reward for all the effort and performance she put in there.”

Byrne said Unie had plenty to offer on court, particularly in defence.

"Ash brings such a traditional one-on-one game that here in Australia we pride ourselves on but Ash also has this amazing ability to go for an intercept,” she said.

"I know she's worked really closely with Karla Pretorius and spent a lot of time speaking with her and seeing what she does and what positions she puts her body in.

"Ash has been tracking really nicely to this stage and hopefully we get to see it (on Saturday).”

Byrne said Unie's possible appearance would depend on how the game flowed and others performed on the day with all 12 players in the mix for court time.

Lightning take on Firebirds at the Queensland State Netball Centre on Saturday from 3pm.