East meets west in grand final showdown

Sunshine Coast Lightning players are preparing to defend their title of Suncorp Super Netball champions, with the team set to take on West Coast Fever this weekend in what will be an explosive battle.

Lightning Assistant Coach Kylee Byrne said she expected a close competition at Perth Arena on Sunday.

“We’re going to have to take each centre pass for what it is in attack and defence. Even if a team gets a lead, it’s likely the other team will come back at them,” Byrne said.

“We’ve seen that against us and we’ve also got the ability to do that. I definitely think it’s going to be a tight game.

“We’ve taken a look at Fever’s structures and strategies this week and discussed what defensive plays we’re going to have and how we’ll run the ball down the court. We’ve done our preparation and we’re ready to go.”

Byrne said Lightning would be drawing energy from the loyal band of Sunshine Coast supporters that are making the trip to Perth this weekend.

“I can’t tell you how important that is for us, particularly knowing how loud Fever’s crowd is going to be.

“We actually sit in the arena pre-game and pick the yellow out of the crowd. In the last few away matches we’ve been able to hear our supporters cheering loud and proud.

“They might be up for a bit of a challenge this week in terms of numbers but our fans have been amazing and the fact so many of them are making the trip to Perth means a lot to the team.”

Lightning player Karla Pretorius echoed Byrne’s sentiments and said she was excited to be playing in front of such a large crowd.

“We know that when tickets were released everything sold out so it’s going to be a big crowd and I’m sure the atmosphere will be really vibrant.

“We definitely want to put a great performance out there and save our best one for last.

“We have been performing better every time we’ve taken to the court in recent weeks and we want to continue that momentum this weekend.”

Pretorius said she was looking forward to going head-to-head with Fever goal attack Nat Medhurst.

“It’s going to be a big job; I know my work is cut out for me and I just want to put out the best performance I can.

“Obviously Nat is a great player; she’s such a play-maker and has a key role in the attacking end, so controlling her is going to be very important.

“In this league you come up against so many different goal attacks and different styles of play and this is just another opportunity to challenge myself.”

The Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final will be held at Perth Arena on Sunday, 26 August at 1pm AEST. The match will be broadcast live on the Nine Network and Netball Live app.

To find out more about Sunshine Coast Lightning, please visit www.sunshinecoastlightning.com.au.