Finals race continues in Round 12 clash

Sunshine Coast Lightning will have its sights set on securing a full eight points at its Round 12 match against Adelaide Thunderbirds, with the 2017 premiers angling to move into a top-four ladder position this weekend.

Lightning Assistant Coach Kylee Byrne said the team was shaping up well in the lead-up to Sunday’s game.

“We’re feeling confident and know it’s about getting in and getting the job done. It’s a big game,” Byrne said.

“You can’t take the bottom of the ladder lightly and we’re aware Thunderbirds have got nothing to lose.

“As a team, they are quite hard to plan against. They’ve just had their star goal shooter, Cat Tuivaiti, return following a knee injury and it seems it’s given them confidence.

“Cat had three quarters last week so we’re expecting her to either start or play a pretty big role this week.”

Lightning player Jacqui Russell said one of Adelaide Thunderbirds’ strengths was the team’s unpredictability, with their combinations tending to change.

“It will be interesting to see if Abigail Latu-Meafou gets a run this weekend. Shimona Nelson is also quite dangerous at times so I guess whoever they put out on court, we’ll just be looking to put the pressure on and capitalise on any errors,” Russell said.

“When they’re on, they’re on and they can get a bit of a roll on. We’ll be aiming to put that to a stop right from the start and have a strong first quarter.

“We’ve had so many close games this season so we really want to put an emphasis on getting a lead, pushing it out and winning every quarter.”

Russell said Lightning was focusing on playing to its strengths in the upcoming match.

“We’re making sure we’re dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s now we’re really in the business end of the season.

“We’ve had a big week this week and we’re all kicking it up a gear. I think we know how important the game’s going to be so everyone’s putting in a really big effort.

“The next three games for us are going to be crucial and we’ll be taking it quarter by quarter when we’re out on court.”

Sunshine Coast Lightning will take on Adelaide Thunderbirds at Priceline Stadium on Sunday, 22 July. The Round 12 match will be broadcast live on the Nine Network in Adelaide from 12.30pm ACST, as well as on Telstra TV and the Netball Live app.

Sunshine Coast Lightning 2018 memberships are available at sunshinecoastlightning.com.au.