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Lightning Turn ‘Unknown Territory’ Into Win Against Thunderbirds

It may not have been ‘pretty’ but Sunshine Coast Lightning grinded through four quarters of netball to secure a win against a dogged Adelaide Thunderbirds in Darwin on Saturday.

From the novelty of bringing netball to the top end of Australia for the first time, the new stadium and even the varying form of the Thunderbirds, Lightning needed to prepare well but expect the unexpected heading into the game.

“We stepped into unknown territory and neither team had played in Darwin before, it was all unexpected – the arena we were walking into, the crowd size – it was just on the day who could handle all the external things,” Assistant Coach Kylee Byrne said.

“The Thunderbirds play a style that they keep coming at you to slow the game down, so grind is exactly right, we just had to work hard with every ball and make sure when we had it, we scored.”

Lightning’s relentless attitude saw them come away with the win 59-53, but neither side held the lead for longer than a quarter, demonstrating just how tight the contest was at times.

Mid-courter Laura Scherian said the more competitive Thunderbirds outfit are now more settled with their structures and will only become harder to play against as the season progresses.

“It’s disappointing we only got two of the bonus points, but a win’s a win and we were happy with what we did, especially in that last quarter to grind it out,” Scherian said.

“Adelaide’s just going to get stronger and stronger as the season goes on – they were a new team at the start, working out their combinations – I think we’re the same still working on our combinations as well.

“They’re just going to get stronger as the season progresses.”

Sunshine Coast Lightning now face Collingwood Magpies at home on Saturday from 3pm as part of Round Eight’s Indigenous Round.

Lightning’s ANL affiliate Territory Storm will also play their last games of the season at USC Stadium this weekend against the Tasmanian Magpies, on Saturday at 5:45pm and Sunday 10am.

Don’t miss out on all the netball action this weekend, secure your tickets here.