Sunshine Coast Lightning have finished fourth on the ladder after a highly competitive Suncorp Team Girls Cup pre-season tournament on the Gold Coast.

After starting the three-day competition with a draw against the Collingwood Magpies, Lightning came up against a strong West Coast Fever side where they fell short by just three goals.

The third game was against the NSW Swifts, where they won by five goals in a thriller match, the Lightning defenders causing the Swifts attack line headaches.

Three hard-fought games later, Lightning sat second on the ladder in Pool A, meaning they would take on the Melbourne Vixens for the third and fourth places of the final leader board.

While Lightning held the lead for most of the match by a small margin, the Vixens were able to secure a one-point win in the last two seconds of the game, even after the first shot attempt at five seconds was blocked by star goal keeper, Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

Head Coach Belinda Reynolds spoke highly of the team and how they have embraced the new game plan put in place.

“I am incredibly proud of the players for all of their performances this weekend and their ability to execute the game plan we have been working so hard on at training,” she said.

Reynolds said the younger athletes in the squad really stepped up under pressure, which is critical when it comes to the Suncorp Super Netball season.

“We are very fortunate to have a balance of both youth and experience in our side, and I was particularly impressed with how our younger athletes performed this weekend. Charlie Bell especially was a stand-out, she played on a number of experienced goal keepers and was able to hold her own and present as a strong target for us in the circle.”

Tara Hinchliffe had a slightly awkward landing in the final game of the tournament, but after being examined by the team physio was cleared of any serious injury. Her load will be monitored this week at training.

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