SUNSHINE Coast Lightning were eager to make it two from two in the Suncorp Super Netball competition, exposing the Magpies in the third quarter with their ball speed and defensive pressure to steal a four-goal win (51-47). With new faces across the court, the Magpies stunned the Lightning in the opening half with their accuracy to post and drive in the attacking third but the Lightning showcased their experience to work their way into the match and hold strong despite a final term push.
With Steph Wood a late out from the starting seven, the Lightning front line took a while to adjust with Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia struggling to find their mojo thanks to the immense defensive pressure from the Pies. Proscovia had the yips early, missing a couple of consecutive goals giving the Magpies a chance to settle into the game. Madi Browne had an immediate impact for the black and white with the wing attack delivering an impressive overhead long bomb into returning goaler Shimona Nelson under the post. Nelson did not seem to skip a beat from the first whistle with the goal shooter commanding the ball under the post and doing the heavy lifting to open up a strong lead for the Pies.
Collingwood continued to press with newcomer Jodi-Ann Ward asserting herself on the game with an early intercept shutting down the space in the defensive goal circle to make life hard for the Lightning goalers. Magpies showcased their confidence and speed to capitalise on the Lightning’s missed opportunities skipping out to a five goal lead with a tick under 10 minutes left in the quarter. But the class of the Lightning was not to be underestimated with the home team rallying in the backend of the quarter. A couple of missed opportunities from both sides saw the ball bubble up and down the court before the Lightning wrestled back momentum. With the super shot in play goals went astray with both sides unable to sink them from long range instead it was Nelson that steadied the ship under the post for the Pies to reclaim the lead albeit by one goal at quarter time.
Lightning levelled the scores in the first minute of the quarter but Collingwood were determined to keep their lead with Nelson delivering at the post moments later. A Geva Mentor inspired intercept gifted the Pies another chance to score to stretch the lead to a couple of goals while the introduction of Matilda Garrett paid dividends with the goal defence having an immediate impact with a strong rebound and drive down the court. The connection between Madi and Kelsey Browne impressed with the two rotating through the space with great ease and delivering with precision into the Nelson under the post.
Struggling to have their usual impact in the goal circle the Lightning looked to the bench with Binnian Hunt making her debut in goal attack. The shooter showcased her classy footwork and nice touch to set up plays while Ward re-entered the game for the Pies in wing defence. A couple of offensive penalties from the goalers allowed the ball to swing up and down the court again but the Pies seemed to maintain control throughout the game.
Gabby Sinclair impressed with her play making abilities out the front and drive into the goal circle but the Lightning were not about to give up gaining some momentum in attack with Laura Scherian hitting circle edge and delivering high ball into Koenen. Karla Pretorius came into her own in the final minutes of the term winning back ball thanks to her impressive ball tracking abilities and sticky hands. But the biggest shock of all came when Wood entered the game and while she did not sink the super shot provided a pep in her teammates step to reduce the deficit to three goals.
It was goal for goal in the first couple of minutes of the second half with both sides scoring off their centre pass. The Magpies attack end kicked into gear with Molly Jovic driving hard into the pocket and going toe to toe with Laura Langman before Sunshine Coast upped the ante to eat into the three-goal margin. They threw everything they had at the Magpies in both attack and defence with Phumza Maweni covering Nelson at the post. The momentum steadily shifted with the Lightning drawing level thanks to Wood and Langman driving the attacking unit and creating a wealth of space in the goal circle.
Kelly Altmann was key for the Pies with the centre taking a well-read intercept and proving that she is not afraid to throw her body on the line, contesting every ball that came her way. But it was not enough to nullify the Lightning who were cooking with gas opening up a strong lead. Sunshine Coast were patient in attack playing the ball around the circle edge to reverse the half time deficit and establish a three goal buffer themselves.
The experience of the Lightning came into play in the final term, as Maweni reading the play like a book while their end to end transition stunned the Magpies who were simply unable to stop their drive through court. With the game getting away from them young goaler Nyah Allen took the game on nailing four goals straight to keep Collingwood in touch. The intensity went up a notch as the quarter ticked down with both sides applying a wealth of pressure down the court but in the end the momentum was with the Lightning as they secured their second win.
In her first game for the season Nelson displayed her scoring prowess nailing 32 goals from 37 attempts while goal attack Sinclair also plied her trade with six goals but down on her accuracy. Koenen was strong once again under the post for the Lightning with the young goaler converting 38 goals from 45 attempts at 84 per cent. The output from Proscovia was minimal with six goals while Wood was not overly accurate shooting at 50 per cent while on court. The work from Madi Browne in the attacking third did not go unnoticed amassing 10 goal assists while for the Lightning it was the defensive pressure of Maweni that shone true as the goal defence picked up six gains and seven deflections.
Sunshine Coast Lightning 10 | 11 | 16 | 14 (51)
Collingwood Magpies 11 | 13 | 9 | 14 (47)
Sunshine Coast Lightning:
GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Laura Scherian
C: Laura Langman
WD: Maddy McAuliffe
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni
GS: Shimona Nelson
GA: Gabby Sinclair
WA: Madi Browne
C: Molly Jovic
WD: Melissa Bragg
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
GK: Geva Mentor