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Lightning Aim To Crack Minor Premiership Curse

Sunshine Coast Lightning rarely shy away from a challenge and Head Coach Noeline Taurua says the team is tackling the Minor Premiership voodoo head on.

In the past two seasons, the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) Minor Premiers – Melbourne Vixens (2017) and GIANTS Netball (2018) – have been eliminated in straight sets, never progressing to the Grand Final.

But Taurua is keen to flip past history on its head, with her eyes firmly on a Grand Final berth.

“We’ve spoken about it and joked about it and we’re taking it on,” Taurua said.

“We love the challenge of being the first team to get through.

“We’ve hit some milestones [already], so it would be a neat one to put on the mantelpiece.”

Lightning are no stranger to finals netball, having won back-to-back Premierships in the Club’s inaugural two years.

And with the imminent departure of Head Coach Taurua who will step down at season’s end, a third would be a more than fitting farewell.

“We know this weekend’s game is a big one for both teams, with the opportunity to go straight through to Grand Final” she said.

“We can’t pat ourselves on the back yet, knowing on Saturday all will be unveiled.

“But also knowing we’ve got to be in the frame of mind to take them on, and have a positive attitude.

“[A home final] gets us going, it provides us with extra motivation and we’ve got to be able to deliver out on court on Saturday.”

Midcourter Maddy McAuliffe isn’t letting the Minor Premiership curse get in the way of her own game day preparations.

“History tells us it’s true, but in saying that history also tells us we win the Grand Final, so I’m going to go with the latter and hope that that keeps repeating itself rather than the curse,” McAuliffe joked.

The 24-year-old said winning the rights to a Sunshine Coast home final was a huge milestone for the Club and, with it, the opportunity to bring the community along on the finals’ journey.

“That was a really big thing for us as a team, to secure the home final,” she said.

“Our home crowd is amazing – anyone who has been here or even watched the broadcast at our home games, it is so loud – everyone here is so passionate.”

Lightning will compete in the Major Semi Final against NSW Swifts on Saturday from 3pm at USC Stadium. Watch the game live on Channel 9 or via the Netball Live mobile app.