TRAINING: Caitlin Bassett runs down court while Geva Mentor watches on.
TRAINING: Caitlin Bassett runs down court while Geva Mentor watches on. John McCutcheon

Lightning stars set to collide in gold medal match

NETBALL: Australian captain Caitlin Bassett says training sessions with England defender Geva Mentor at Sunshine Coast Lightning have helped her become a vastly improved player.

The two are set to collide in the gold medal match at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast on Sunday after winning their respective semi-finals on Saturday.

And sharp shooter Bassett, 29, knows as well as anyone what Mentor, 33, is capable of.

She trains with and against her regularly.

And that's helped her become a more complete player.

"She's forced me to add more strings to my bow," Bassett said.

"I'm not just a holding shooter now. I've got to add movement, I've got to take longer shots, I have to be more dynamic in that goal end and use my brain a bit more.

"All these things I think I've added to my game in the last year."

Bassett was a force for the West Coast Fever and the Australian team before moving east 18 months ago.

But she's since taken things further.

"The decision to come to the Sunshine Coast was to add to my game and to play under Noeline Taurua, who is an amazing coach, but also to challenge myself week in, week out," she said.

Sunshine Coast Lightning begin training for 2018. Steph Wood, Caitlin Bassett, Geva Mentor, Madeline McAuliffe, Laura Scherian and Karla Mostert.
HOLDING COURT: Geva Mentor, centre, talks to Caitlin Bassett and Stephanie Wood to her left. John McCutcheon

"I know Geva Mentor is really going to push me every time at training."

They won the national league title last year, when Bassett was immense in the goal circle and Mentor was adjudged the Super Netball player of the year.

Now, they're set to clash on a big stage.

Bassett told the Sunshine Coast Daily before the Games that a meeting between the two on the Gold Coast was a highly-anticipated scenario.

She also indicated there could be a surprise tactic or two in store.

"I'm looking forward to the battle and coming up against Geva, who I train against week-in, week-out," she said.

"I think it's an opportunity for me to step up and try something different."

The door may open for Lightning team-mate and goal attack Stephanie Wood to make her impact, if she's on court.

"It could be on step up as well because me and Geva are probably going to negate one another on court and then it's going to be her time to shine," Bassett said.