Sunshine Coast Lightning will travel interstate for the first time this season as they head to Melbourne to play the Vixens at John Cain Arena.

After a loss to the Adelaide Thunderbirds at home in Round 3, they are looking for redemption against the Melbourne side who currently sit just one place above Lightning on the ladder in third.

Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said the team has reviewed the last game and is looking forward to a hard-fought battle against the Vixens.

“We’ve reviewed our performance exactly the same way we would any other performance, but we’ve definitely taken the learnings and we’re looking to respond to that this weekend,” she said.

“The Vixens are a quality outfit and especially on their home court, so we know we will have to be at our best to beat them this weekend. I absolutely have belief in the group that we have great match-ups against them — it should be a really good game.”

Reynolds spoke about the importance of sticking to the game plan, especially if the team finds themselves trailing like they did last match.

“It’s very important for us to go back to the game plan there and be really diligent in our behaviours. We’ve got attacking and defensive behaviours that we like to live by out there. So we have to make sure to not deter from the game plan this week if we are behind.”

Australian Diamond Cara Koenen spoke of the form and the energy of the Lightning camp at training this week.

“We’re really proud of the first couple of performances that we had, but we lacked a bit of consistency even in the second half of the Firebirds game. We’ve have a good look at our performance over the last couple of weeks and I think we’re heading into this weekend with a really fresh energy,” she said.

“Vixens are a physical team. They play a very tidy brand of netball, they don’t give the ball up a lot, so we’ll be looking to do the same thing and make sure if we get any opportunities and any turnovers from our incredible defenders, we’ll look to punish on the scoreboard.

“This week we’re focussing on executing our skill, especially under pressure. Vixens have a lot of tall, rangy defenders so they’ll be putting a lot of pressure over the ball out the front. It’s critical Steph and I keep our work-rate up to make sure we’re helping our middies get the ball down — and then put the ball through the hoop.”

Ashleigh Ervin has been ruled out of this weekends’ match against the Vixens due to illness, with Training Partner Ava Black named in the preliminary team list travelling to Melbourne.

Shannon Eagland will also travel with the team, being named the temporary replacement player for Tara Hinchliffe for Round 4.

Sunshine Coast Lightning will play the Melbourne Vixens this Saturday at John Cain Arena at 7pm. Watch live via Foxtel or Kayo.

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