Sunshine Coast Lightning take a convincing win over GIANTS Netball (66-50) at UniSC Arena for Round 1 of the Suncorp Super Netball.
A dream start for new Head Coach, Belinda Reynolds alongside new Assistant Coach Jenny Brazel. No changes were made to the starting 7 team, with three potential debuts remaining on the bench.
Lightning came out firing to start Round 1 of the 2023 season, turning over GIANTS’ first and second centre passes to open the quarter 4-0. Kadie-Ann Dehaney made her presence known early, coming out for a fly which ultimately lead to a turnover in the GIANTS’ attacking line. Lightning’s defensive unit were tight, the combination between KD and Karla shining on court. GIANTS pulled the score back through a couple of Suncorp Super Shots, but Captain Steph Wood responded with one of her own.
There was a patient build-up for the first goal of the second quarter, with Lightning not showing any signs of panic. Shezzy’s give-and-goes and pin-point accurate feeds saw the Lightning attack line take it up a level. KD hit 44 Nissan Net Points part way through the second, getting a hand in absolutely anything that went down that end. The combo of KP and KD caused havoc for the GIANTS attackers, resulting in a number of turnovers. Several uncharacteristic shots were missed by the GIANTS shooters, caused by the pressure and long reach of both circle defenders.
Both teams burst out the gates after a half-time break. The GIANTS attack was really firing, with a number of quick, clean plays straight into the circle. A gain from KD saw Lightning ready to convert another goal, but GIANTS’ attack-line switched quickly into defence, creating a held ball. Defence was impressive all across the court, with KD and KP not giving an inch and picking up a number of intercepts and deflections. Steph Wood showed she can be dangerous in defence, picking up an intercept through the middle third after a turnover ball.
Only one minute into the fourth quarter and KD comes out with another deflection. Annie Miller gets herself involved with a deflection to her name in the centre third. Lightning’s attack line work together to create seamless plays into Cars and Steph, with the feeds from Annie and Shez placed perfectly. Harls grinded out a quality game, playing on two different wing attacks and putting pressure on the GIANTS midcourt to create multiple turnovers. While a few quality Super Shots were drained by the GIANTS shooters, it wasn’t enough to make up for the lead, and Sunshine Coast Lightning finished strong in front of a vocal crowd at UniSC Arena.
Kadie-Ann Dehaney took the well-deserved title for player of the match, playing the full 60 minutes and picking up 110.5 Nissan Net Points. She ended on 8 gains, 4 intercepts and 10 deflections.
Diamonds shooters Steph and Cars finished on 88% shooting percentage, fed perfectly by speedy midcourters Shezzy — who ended on 30 feeds — and Annie, ending on 43 feeds. Annie took an impressive number of centre pass receives, notching up 24 for the match.