Lightning down Thunder in netball thriller

AAP

A clutch step back goal from Steph Wood in the dying seconds has clinched a nail-biting 59-58 victory for Sunshine Coast Lightning over the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Netball SA Stadium.

A see-sawing fourth quarter ended in dramatic fashion on Sunday when Steph Wood responded to Georgie Horjus’s super goal – which gave Adelaide the lead – by converting twice in the last minute.

Her second came from just inside the super shot zone to break the deadlock and the winless Thunderbirds’ hearts.

The opening term was neck and neck but scrappy for the most part before the Lightning rallied late and with South African Phumza Maweni exceptional and Wood dropping a late super goal, they led 15-12 at quarter-time.

Thunderbirds goal keeper Shamera Sterling inspired the home side’s fightback, playing one of her finest games for the club.

The high-leaping Jamaican racked up 11 deflections, seven gains and four intercepts to create havoc for the Lightning’s shooters but it wasn’t enough to end winless Adelaide’s drought.

“It’s great to go head-to-head with the Lightning who have been in the top four for the past 2-3 years now,” player-of-the-match Sterling said.

“It was good to put up a fight against them.

“Sorry we couldn’t get the win but we’ve built each game.”

Adelaide recovered in the second term to close the gap to 30-29 at halftime before the Lightning rang in the changes, injecting Peace Proscovia as goal shooter and ex-Thunderbird Kate Shimmin off the bench to wing defence.

The third term was ragged and error-prone but Adelaide did enough to edge ahead 43-42 before having the crowd on their feet in the fourth.

Diamond shooter Cara Koenen, who had her hands full with Sterling all afternoon, hit her first 20 shots before missing a sitter.

The Thunderbirds, with captain Hannah Petty back in the centre after a long rest, seized the initiative and moved ahead by three before Wood sealed their fate.