Lightning earn their chance to strike three times
THE Sunshine Coast are into their third successive Super Netball grand final after blowing the NSW Swifts off the court with a crushing 58-48 victory in the major semi-final at USC Stadium yesterday.
The Lightning will be gunning for a hat-trick of premierships when they host the 2019 decider at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in a fortnight.
The only club to ever capture three-straight grand final wins in national league history was the Swifts in 2006-08, and the Lightning will be at short odds to join them as an alltime great netball dynasty after they found an imposing extra gear under pressure.
The Lightning enjoyed the early momentum after a Laura Langman intercept just 12 seconds into the contest set the tone for the home side’s swarming defensive intensity.
But the Swifts led by five goals, two minutes into the second quarter before the Sunshine Coast went into overdrive to win their sixth final from six attempts and continue the club’s short but spectacular history.
The Lightning dominated the middle two quarters, with Cara Koenen (30/32) and Steph Wood (22/29) ruthlessly finishing off the work of their stingy defence and clever midcourt, while all three Swifts shooters hit 16 goals apiece.
As their sellout home crowd of 3003 found voice, a two-goal half-time lead turned into a seven-goal gap just four minutes into the third term for the Lightning, who left the Swifts in their dust.
Cara Koenen avoids the Swifts’ Sarah Klau.