Sunshine Coast Lightning was unable to hold off a desperate Queensland Firebirds outfit at Nissan Arena in Round 11, eventually falling by 10 goals.
Lightning approached the match well aware that Firebirds would bring an added level of intensity to the match as they cling to a potential finals berth.
This presented as increased physicality across the 4 quarters, which at times rattled the away side.
“We spoke before the game about desperation and passion – we knew that’s what the Firebirds would have – we know those things can motivate a team,” Head Coach Kylee Byrne said.
“What all teams have gone through in the last couple of weeks – you try to do everything possible.”
Byrne is ruing Lightning’s missed opportunities and knows the side needs to be better as the team approaches the business end of the Suncorp Super Netball season.
“In the end we didn’t convert gains and that’s what we really spoke about after the game,” Byrne said.
“We got 20 gains and that is good but we just didn’t convert it – we sat around 40%.
“You can’t do that because a team like the Firebirds will punish you, which they did.”
Bryne acknowledged the emotional impact the past few weeks have had on all teams, with fixture changes, travel hubs and uncertainty around the remainder of the season.
She believes at this stage of the season that emotional fatigue is impacting the players’ ability to complete the full 60 minutes at the elite level week in week out and player welfare needs to be a priority.
“I’m watching – not just us – all teams being mentally really fatigued,” she said.
“There’s so much happening behind the scenes but the expectation is whenever you step out on court you have to be your absolute best for 60 minutes.
“I’m not actually quite sure that’s possible at the moment – the lead up is so emotional and the emotions can be draining.
“Look what Firebirds went through in the last two days but they came out with absolute desperation today – their season depended on this game.”