Lightning strike down fast-finishing Thunderbirds

SUNSHINE Coast Lightning survived a valiant fightback from the Adelaide Thunderbirds to win 56-54 in the Suncorp Super Netball yesterday. Despite the Lightning dominating for much of the match, the Thunderbirds put together an almighty comeback late but could not quite get over the line.

After a number of mistakes from both sides off the opening centre pass, the Thunderbirds eventually did pinch a goal off what was a Lightning centre pass. Unfortunately for the home side though, they were unable to convert off their first centre pass as the Lightning levelled up proceedings and the scoring returned to being on centre pass.

Eventually the Lightning did streak a few goals ahead, but only held that lead for a few minutes before the Thunderbirds levelled back up again. However the visitors then snuck ahead again, despite the best efforts of a determined Shamera Sterling, and eventually took a three goal lead into the opening break.

It was the home side who got the better start to the second term, and as such quickly levelled up proceedings again. However the Lightning did restore their lead after a couple of minutes, and in the blink of an eye that lead had increased to five goals. The Thunderbirds then reset, and made a couple of slightly unorthodox changes, which included putting Maisie Nankivell on at wing defence.  

However those changes did not work as Karla Pretorius and Kadie-Ann Dehaney kept piling on the pressure and ensured the Thunderbirds’ shooters were under plenty of stress while shooting. This saw what seemed liked the Thunderbirds’ shooters lost confidence in front of the ring, and only managed to put 12 goals on the board in the each of the first and second terms.

As such, the Lightning held a five-goal lead at the main break, and this dominance from the Lightning was without any Super Shots from either side.

Things kept going up and up for the visitors early in the second half as their lead kept growing. Their defence kept holding strong while up the other end the Thunderbirds’ defenders had no answers for the niftiness of Steph Wood and Cara Koenen. The Lightning were just playing with a level of confidence that had really been missing at times in the back half of the season, and as such, stretched their lead out to double digits. In the end their lead was a dozen goals at the final change.

For much of the last quarter, the Thunderbirds could hardly make a dent in the deficit and it was looking like the Lightning were going to cruise to a comfortable win. However, once Eleanor Cardwell got going with the Super Shot, things started to change.

The Lightning did not score for the final three and a half minutes of the game as the Thunderbirds shot five Super Shots in a row to bring the margin back to a mere two goals. Unfortunately the Thunderbirds, left their run a little too late, and as such were unable to complete the comeback. 

For the Lightning those who really had something to prove really shone, namely the likes of Ash Ervin (five gains, four intercepts, three deflections, one rebound) and Mahalia Cassidy (44 feeds, 20 assists).

Despite being well beaten at times Sterling still finished with a whopping nine deflections and six gains, as well as four intercepts, while Georgie Horjus (27 feeds, 18 assist, one deflection) also had a strong game.

ADELAIDE THUNDERBIRDS          12 | 12 | 10 | 20 (54)
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING     15 | 14 | 17 | 10 (56)


Adelaide Thunderbirds

GS: Eleanor Cardwell
GA: Tippah Dwan
WA: Georgie Horjus
C: Tayla Williams
WD: Latanya Wilson
GD: Matilda Garrett
GK: Shamera Sterling

Sunshine Coast Lightning

GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Mahalia Cassidy
WD: Ava Black
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Ash Ervin

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