Koenen Focused And Ready For Thunderbirds

Cara Koenen will take a dual focus into Wednesday night’s clash with Adelaide Thunderbirds, hitting the scoreboard at every opportunity while denying a talented opposition defence from turning over the ball.

Last time Koenen took on Thunderbirds, Sunshine Coast Lightning won by the smallest of margins and the Club will be hoping to keep their undefeated record against the Adelaide side come Round 12.

“The Thunderbirds defenders have really built their combination over the course of the season,” Koenen said.

“Tilly Garrett has really come into her own in that Goal Defence position and obviously, Shamera [Sterling] has a lot of length down the back of the court and turns over a lot of ball for them.

“We will be looking to play the ball hard and fast around her to make sure we’re taking her out of that intercept contention.”

Limited preparations due to the rejigged fixture last week mean there’s still been an overarching focus on Lightning’s own game strategy, more so than their opponents.

“We want to stick to our processes and play to our strengths – not give them too much credit and make sure we’re doing what we need to do,” she said.

“Obviously we couldn’t do our opposition analysis, so we just worked on fine tuning some of our own connections and strategies so we were ready for whoever we would come up against.

While Lightning’s designated home game is being played out of Nissan Stadium, Koenen is confident loyal Members and fans will make the trek down the highway where possible.

“Even when we play down at Nissan we have hordes of Members heading down the Bruce to support us,” she said.

Head Coach Kylee Byrne validated Koenen’s comments around game day preparations, however the internal focus will put the team in good stead headed into a hopeful finals series in a fortnight.

“We’ve really only had one session to prepare so we maximised that time,” Byrne said.

“In the end, when we didn’t know who our opponent would be, we were just trying to refine our skills and strategies and go back to what we keep saying – making it about ourselves.

“When we have the ball in our hand we have to make sure we’re turning that into goals.”

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