Fiji netball international Maria Lutua says being a part of the Australian Super League is a dream come true.
The 28-year-old shooter has 52 test caps for the Pearls since her international debut in 2009, and featured at the past two World Cups.
Lutua played for the Yorkshire Jets in the English SuperLeague last season but said the chance to be a training partner at the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the new Australian competition is another step up.
The Fiji vice captain has relished the chance to rub shoulders with world class players like Geva Mentor, Caitlin Bassett and Laura Langman.
“The first day I rocked up to training I was a bit intimidated,” she said.
“You only dream and wish to play with them and when you get the chance you just grab every opportunity.
“Like at first I can’t believe that I’m actually training with these guys, the legends, but they’re just human and they accepted me and just treated me like one of their teammates, which was really good.
“I felt like this is the right place to be [and I’m] just looking forward to what happens in the future.”
“In the season if someone goes down they will look into bringing one of us up to temporarily replace an injured player,” she said.
“But with that we get to do everything with them. We did pre-season training, literally do everything with them.
“Which is a really good thing to be part of the team and to be training at that level with great people around. It’s just awesome to be here.”
Lutua was called up to the main squad for the first three rounds, when fellow shooter Stephanie Wood was injured.
Despite not making it onto the court, she said just being part of the team, sitting on the sideline absorbing the atmosphere and experience is another step forward for her.
The Lightning have made a strong start and lie in third place after five rounds of competition.
Maria Lutua said she was also looking forward to playing for Fiji at the Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu in December, while other test matches are close to being finalised.