State rivalry will be ignited this weekend as Sunshine Coast Lightning take on the Queensland Firebirds in Brisbane as part of Round 2 of the Suncorp Super Netball Season.
In a first for the Queensland teams, both will be vying for the Queensland Cup — a trophy awarded to the winner of the game each time the two teams compete during the regular season.
Lightning player Mahalia Cassidy, who played for the Firebirds previously before signing with the Sunshine Coast side in 2021, said it’s a game they always get excited for.
“This is a game that gets really hyped up, and we’re obviously very excited to play against the Firebirds. It’s always a physical game and a cracker match so we just can’t wait for the weekend,” she said.
“It’s inevitable that it’s always going to be a real battle and you definitely want to be the best Club in your own state, but it’s also about going out there to stick to our game plan and hopefully come out with a win.
“We just want to get out there and play the style of netball we played on the weekend against GIANTS. We’re really proud of what we put out there and if we can do that again and improve even further, we’ll put ourselves in a good position.”
After a strong win against GIANTS Netball in Round 1, Head Coach Belinda Reynolds is looking to build on that performance.
“After the win on Sunday we spent Monday reviewing the game against GIANTS and there were a lot of good signs but there’s absolutely still room for improvement. On Tuesday we turned our attention to the Firebirds and we know they’ve had a tough pre-season with changeover of coaches, which means there will be fire in the belly and obviously those Queensland bragging rights that we want to hold at the end of this game,” she said.
32-year-old Shannon Eagland has been elevated into the side to fill the temporary replacement role for the upcoming match this weekend.
“Shannon has played for two Clubs in the SSN, both for Fever and Firebirds, and before that she played for the Vixens in the previous competition. She bring in excess of 50 SSN games’ experience into our line-up,” Reynolds said.
“She arrived this week and has been in our training environment so obviously she’s very fresh. She’ll take a look at the game to start with but I have complete confidence if we need to inject her that she’ll play her role for the team.”
Eagland can play both Wing Defence and Goal Defence which covers the area of the court needed to replace Hinchliffe.