With the second half of the season underway, the Super Netball reviews continue. It’s now time for the Sunshine Coast Lightning mid-season review.
Sitting first on the SSN table after round eight, the Lightning are once again in the box seat to go deep into the finals. They have only dropped two games so far this year, and are looking good with a full lineup.
Outside Help: The Lightning’s new recruits have been very successful at their new club.
Kate Shimmin has been a point of difference to the Lightning back half, adding to the formidable duo of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni.
Meanwhile in centre, Mahalia Cassidy has slotted in exceptionally well.
Laura Scherian and Maddy McAuliffe’s stints with the centre bib have not gone unnoticed either and they add to the Lightning’s versatility, with the trio being able to play several positions in mid-court.
Second Quarter Slumps: The main issue for the Lightning in 2020 was their notorious slow starts.
And although the Lightning have won five of their eight opening quarters, they have been trailing or tied at the half six out of eight times.
Second quarter slumps will need to be addressed in the second half of the season, to ensure they aren’t always chasing their rivals on court.
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The form of Steph Wood, coming back from knee surgery in the off season, has been one of the high points of the season so far.
Wood has not only been in strong form all year, but her leadership and smarts have been invaluable when it matters.
She singlehandedly dragged the Lightning over the line against the Thunderbirds with two late goals saving the match, and then did so again in extra time against Collingwood Magpies.
Ash Unie’s ACL injury on the eve of the new season was a major setback for the Lightning. To add insult, Maddie Hinchliffe, upgraded to replace her, has yet to play in 2021 due to a foot injury.
The Lightning’s two defeats at the hands of the Fever and Firebirds were both comprehensive defeats, well beaten at the hands of their finals rival and cross-town rivals respectively.
With the Firebirds likely to miss the finals altogether, the Lightning will not want to drop the return clash, lest it cost them top spot.
The Lightning should go into the second half of the year full of confidence that they can beat anyone at their peak.
If they can put up full four quarter performances to ensure they are not chasing down deficits, it will sure them up for finals.
First. The Lightning are once again thereabouts, and will not be a team anyone wants to meet in the finals.
Squaring the ledger against the Fever and Firebirds will mean the Lightning have beaten every team this year, and give them all the confidence in the world they can win the title again.
They next play the Melbourne Vixens on July 4 at USC stadium.
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