27/02/2024
Lenize Potgieter in action

Lenize Potgieter was named player of the match as the Adelaide Thunderbirds turned the tables on the Sunshine Coast Lightning. (Photo: Adelaide Thunderbirds)

Seeking revenge for a one goal loss in Round 5, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have turned the tables on the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Seeking revenge for a one goal defeat in Round 5, the Adelaide Thunderbirds have turned the tables on the Sunshine Coast Lightning in a one goal victory.

In a similar contest to the last time these teams met, the two evenly matched sides went goal for goal throughout the match.

Early in the piece, strong work by Shamera Sterling to protect the baseline beat Cara Koenen at her own game under the post.

From this strong defensive play, the Thunderbirds broke away to a four goal lead in the opening quarter.

The Lightning hit back in the second quarter. Phumza Maweni took control at the defensive end and mid-courters Laura Scherian and Mahalia Cassidy had greater influence in the middle.

At the half-time break, Sunshine Coast held a three goal lead.

Adelaide opened the second half well with Lenize Potgieter hitting the scoreboard.

Sterling and Matilda Garrett combined for a two-block approach, the Thunderbirds’ transitioned the ball to draw level with the Lightning.

Blocks were the theme of the night for Sterling, while she also took three intercepts, made two deflections and had six gains.

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After winning the second quarter by seven goals, Sunshine Coast lost the third by six. Cara Koenen and Steph Wood found the Thunderbirds’ defensive combinations a challenge.

It was goal for goal through the final term, and trending towards a thrilling finish reminiscent of their previous meeting where the Lightning took the four points by a single goal.

This time round it was Adelaide who got the win. It wasn’t perfect however, Potgieter missed her first attempt to put her team in front, but luck was on Adelaide’s side as Potgieter made sure of her second chance.

She finished with 40 goals from 41 attempts and was awarded player of the match.

Post match, she was “stoked” with the win.

“Not playing for a week and a half, coming off a loss against the Fever like we did, we just went back to the drawing board and we told each other we need to stick to the game plan,” Potgieter said.

“It might not work in the first or the second quarter, but it’s going to come. We don’t steer away from it.

“That’s what we did in this game and it shows, we got the win.”

Potgieter’s miss in the dying seconds almost cost her team the win, but in contrast to the Round 5 match, Adelaide found a way.

“When I went up for the ball, I saw the time left, I’m like don’t miss, don’t miss. Missed,” she said.

However, her teammates saw the humour and put a positive spin on it, suggesting the goal shooter’s attempt was a strategic plan to wind down the clock and deny the Lightning a real opportunity to score.

Wing defence Shadine Van Der Merwe was ruled out before the match with a lower leg injury. Training partner Tayla Williams took the South African’s place in the team, however, did not take the court.

The injury to Van Der Merwe opened up a place in the starting seven for fellow international player Latanya Wilson. The Jamaican defender was involved early with an intercept and put pressure on the Lightnings’ ball carrier.

While the Thunderbirds aren’t going to make finals, they want to finish their season with more wins.

“We want to finish very strong and still want to show the competition that we are a team to be reckoned with,” Potgieter said.

“That’s why getting three out of three games, well the next two games, wins from them – that’s what we’re striving for and improving our position on the ladder.”

Building towards finals, the Lightning could have secured a top four finish with a win. They still sit two wins inside with two games remaining against the Giants and NSW Swifts.

Adelaide faces Melbourne Vixens on Monday, while Sunshine Coast will be back in action on Tuesday against the Giants.

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