The Sunshine Coast Lightning are just one point behind the ladder leading Swifts after defeating the Queensland Firebirds 66 goals to 64 at QSNC.
The Sunshine Coast have completed a clean sweep of their state rivals, after defeating the Queensland Firebirds 66 to 64 at QSNC to open Round 10.
It was a clinical performance from the Lightning, who lead the game from start to finish and come away from the match with a crucial six premiership points.
The Lightning were on top of their state rivals from the get-go, suffocating their attack end and transitioning out of defence with ease.
Queensland were wasteful with the ball early, throwing five first quarter interceptions and turning the ball over an incredible ten times.
And Steph Wood and Player of the Match Cara Koenen punished them for every one of those mistakes, shooting 18-goals from 18-shots in the opening 15-minutes to give the Lightning a five-goal quarter time lead.
The Firebirds cleaned up their ball use and got to work reeling in the Lightning early, but when Laura Scherian fired a pass through traffic to find Steph Wood unmarked under the post, the frustration grew for the girls in purple and the Lightning were away.
Romelda Aiken, who replaced Lenize Potgieter at the quarter time break, did what she could to stop the runaway Lightning, firing in 10-goals from 10-shots in the second.
But it wasn’t enough, as the Sunshine Coast took a handy 36-goal to 29 lead into the halftime break.
New Zealand and Lightning captain Laura Langman capped off her amazing week of netball with a massive game, racking up a game leading 23-goal assists and 33-feeds.
Her performance in the third quarter was particularly impressive, steadying her teammates as the Firebirds began to lift and always seeming to make the correct decision with the ball.
Queensland continued to build in the final quarter, pressuring the Lightning midcourt and utilising Gretel Tippet and Aiken in their goal circle.
Despite the loss, the Firebirds can hold their heads high after the outscoring the Lightning 35-goals to 30 in a strong second half.
But they will be disappointed they couldn’t quite secure the win for their captain Gabi Simpson, who celebrated her 100th national level match.
The Lightning will now host the top of the table Swifts in what could be a Grand Final preview in Round 11, while the Firebirds will continue their search for win number one against the GIANTS next Sunday.
Score breakdown Q1: Firebirds 13 v Lightning 18 Q2: Firebirds 16 v Lightning 18 Q3: Firebirds 16 v Lightning 16 Q4: Firebirds 19 v Lightning 14