Sunshine Coast Lightning are victorious after its first practice match of 2023 this weekend against GIANTS Netball in front of an enthusiastic Sunshine Coast crowd.

It was a hard-fought battle the entire game for the home side, with GIANTS securing a six-goal lead after the first quarter, extending it out to an eight-goal lead at half time, and finishing the third quarter 37-29.

Lightning put the foot down in the fourth quarter, converting multiple turnovers into goals through an increase in pressure down the defensive end.

Australian Diamonds Vice Captain Steph Wood sunk three Suncorp Super Shots in the final minutes of the game, ultimately scoring a buzzer-beater that took Lightning to a one-goal lead to finish the game.

Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said it was a fantastic opportunity to test the team’s combinations under SSN pressure.

“I’m really pleased with the performance the team put out on court. We’re still working on those combinations and obviously we haven’t had our internationals in our training environment in the last four weeks, so it’s just working together to execute what we work on in the training and getting that ready for Team Girls Cup,” she said.

“The girls have been training so hard and it’s always good to get out and play a game, especially against an SSN opponent. Belief is always important during pre-season, and to have that confidence in our combinations that we can get the result in tight games is really exciting.”

The two sides also played each other the night before in a closed-match format, with Lightning coming away with a five-goal win.

The next time they meet again will be Round 1 of the Suncorp Super Netball Season 2023, with Lightning hosting GIANTS at UniSC Arena on 19 March at 1pm.

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