Tough competition is good competition according to Karla Pretorius in the lead up to the 2021 Suncorp Super Netball finals series.
While Sunshine Coast Lightning have faced 2 of their fellow top 4 opponents in the last rounds of the season, the Captain believes it will only better prepare her side for the demands of the finals.
“For us, it’s about momentum – what we had on Tuesday’s game against GIANTS Netball and then brining that into another opportunity in round 14 against NSW Swifts, so that we have everything in place for the finals,” Pretorius said.
“We’re making sure we have the momentum to take into the finals, so any tough game is a good game.”
Lightning has lost to only West Coast Fever of the top 4 sides this season, and Head Coach Kylee Byrne said that speaks to the competitive nature of her team.
“You don’t go into matches thinking any opposition won’t be up to the task on the day,” Byrne said.
“But what we have really recognised as a group, is when there’s the challenge of teams sitting above us or that are in the mix in the top 4, we are very good at rising to that challenge.
“That is something that is giving us a lot of confidence in the next few weeks.”
While Lightning have defeated GIANTS in both matches this year, they will now do battle against the Swifts on Saturday at Nissan Arena in the first of a top 4 double header.
The winner of the match will qualify for the Major Semi Final and subsequently will be given a double chance, which both teams will be eager to attain.
“The Swifts are capable of putting out an amazing performance against good teams – we are by no means taking them easy,” she said.
“For us, it’s that adaptability to whatever style they put out on the weekend and using our strengths, we have to get gains and turnovers and then, most importantly, score from it.”
For Pretorius, her focus is on the versatility of the Swifts’ shooting circle.
With 3 very differing styles of Helen Housby, Sophie Garbin and Sam Wallace, Pretorius – in conjunction with fellow circle defenders Phumza Maweni and Kate Shimmin – will need to remain agile.
“Something that really makes the Swifts good is that they have that depth within their shooting circle,” Pretorius said.
“They can put any 3 of the shooters on and it will provide a good challenge for us.
“For Sophie we know she can play Goal Attack or even Goal Shooter and it’s about knowing what her strengths are – her vertical jump, similar to Cara [Koenen], is hard to stop.
“That’s something we have to be aware of.
“Where Sammy really likes that over ball but she likes finding that front spot as well.
“For us as a defensive unit, we want to make sure we know how Helen works, Sophie and Sam, so when we go into the start of the game we are aware of what each of the shooters bring.”