Lightning strikes in knockout semi-final

Sunshine Coast Lightning has secured a shot at back-to-back premierships following a win against Queensland Firebirds in the Suncorp Super Netball minor semi-final held at Brisbane Entertainment Centre today.

In an explosive battle, the knockout game saw both teams fight fiercely with hopes of progressing to the preliminary final.

Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach Noeline Taurua said the win marked the first time Queensland Firebirds had been beaten at Brisbane Entertainment Centre as part of the 2018 competition.

“Firebirds are an impressive outfit and we always knew we’d have our work cut out for us in going head-to-head at their home stadium,” Taurua said.

“Those last 15 minutes were pretty intense and I’m so happy to come away with a win. We’re certainly not taking it for granted that we are here.

“The game could have gone either way and I think our players were quite smart in the end as they wound down the clock.”

The nail-biting game saw Lightning walk away with a one-goal victory, with the final score resting at 57-56.

Lightning captain Geva Mentor said the game was quite physical, with both Lightning and Firebirds giving it their all.

“It was definitely a sturdy and gritty performance and that’s what finals are about sometimes.

“It comes down to using your smarts and grinding out those wins and making sure when the final whistle goes you’re on the right side of the scoreboard.

“We knew Firebirds were going to come home strong and they stepped up in that fourth quarter. I’m really happy with how we hung on.

“Hopefully our experience playing in the finals last year will put us in good stead moving forward.”

Sunshine Coast Lightning will progress to the Suncorp Super Netball preliminary final next weekend, where it will take on GIANTS Netball at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at midday on Tuesday, 14 August, with finals information available at www.supernetball.com.au/finals.

The game will be broadcast live on the Nine Network from 1pm on Sunday, 19 August as well as on Telstra TV and the Netball Live app. The match winner will go on to compete in the grand final against West Coast Fever.

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