Cara Koenen passes the ball during the Round 14 Super Netball match between the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Cara Koenen passes the ball during the Round 14 Super Netball match between the Sunshine Coast Lightning and Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Minor premiers bank on Lightning striking three times

Sunshine Coast coach Noeline Taurua says despite the Lightning making history with their first Super Netball minor premiership, their best netball is still to come.

The Lightning secured top spot on the ladder and home-court advantage throughout the finals series with a 58-37 thrashing of Adelaide on Saturday to finish the regular season with a 12-2 record.

The Sunshine Coast will take on NSW Swifts at USC Stadium on Saturday at 3pm in the major semi-final, with the winner to host the grand final on Sunday, September 15.

Should the Lightning beat the Swifts, the decider will be held at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall - the scene of the Sunshine Coast's 2017 grand final romp over GWS Giants.

For all their spectacular success with winning two premierships in their first two years of existence, the Lightning did not finish on top of the table in 2017 or last year.

They rode an eight-game winning streak to the minor premiership this season with their last loss coming against Melbourne Vixens on June 1. Their only other loss was in Round 1 to Collingwood.

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"We are really elated we were able to get the minor premiership. We haven't been in this position and for us as a club and a team … and definitely for the Sunny Coast … that's massive,'' Taurua said.

"Still a lot of work to do, still areas to improve on.

"I'm waiting for us to open it up and just do some really beautiful netball.

"We play that sporadically sometimes, not enough to really push ourselves ahead of the opposition.

 

Madeline McAuliffe looks to send the ball in attack against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Madeline McAuliffe looks to send the ball in attack against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

 

"So I still feel there's a lot more we can do out there on court to improve our overall performance but we live another week and we are really pleased with that.''

The Melbourne Vixens will play Collingwood in the sudden-death minor semi-final after the Magpies snuck into the top four with a 58-47 win over their cross-town rivals on Sunday.

The winner of the Melbourne derby knockout final will play the loser of the Lightning-Swifts clash in the preliminary final.