Bassett set to act as lightening rod

Caitlin Bassett is flanked by Melbourne Storm’s Billy Slater and Cameron Smith during training on the Sunshine Coast.

LIGHTNING star Caitlin Bassett knows she will have a target on her back this season.

The former West Coast shooter will officially debut with the Sunshine Coast in next week’s season opener against the Firebirds.

As one of the new club’s biggest signings, there will be a lot of pressure on Bassett to help the Lightning with their introduction into the new-look Australian competition.

The Diamonds star is ready for it and expects to receive a lot of attention as one of the team’s most experienced players.

Bassett stands as the Lightning’s star recruit.

Bassett stands as the Lightning’s star recruit.Source:News Corp Australia

“When you shoot a bulk of the goals you’re naturally going to get a lot of attention and sometimes I do get double-defended,” Bassett said.

“But that’s just the perfect opportunity for the goal attack to step up. The fantastic thing about our team is that we’ve got goal attacks who are more than happy to put up the goals.

“That does take the pressure off.”

A tough trial against the Firebirds two weeks ago gave Bassett a taste of what she can expect from the competition.

Lightning, who are partners of the NRL’s Melbourne Storm, went down 57-47 to the champions of the final trans-Tasman league.

Young Queensland defender Laura Clemesha, who has taken the place of Laura Geitz (pregnant) and Clare McMeniman (retired), marked Bassett and impressed with her efforts to limit her opponent’s opportunities.

Bassett said Clemesha would only get stronger this year and the Lightning’s season opener against the Firebirds was going to be a tough initiation to the competition.

“Getting her opportunity now that Laura and Clare aren’t there, I think (Clemesha) is going to be a really strong defender for their side,” Bassett said.

“There’s no doubt (Firebirds) are the most successful club in the competition and it’s fantastic for us to have our first hit out against them.

“Obviously they’ve lost a couple of great names but they’ve also had a lot of young players stepping up into those positions. We know it’s going to be tough for our first game.’’