MIDCOURTER: Kelsey Browne of the Lightning in their last clash with the Vixens in Melbourne.
MIDCOURTER: Kelsey Browne of the Lightning in their last clash with the Vixens in Melbourne. Jack Thomas

Lightning fired up for Super Netball finals

NETBALL: It was well beaten by Melbourne in their last encounter but the Sunshine Coast is expected to be a much greater threat when the teams collide in the major semi-final on Saturday.

The Lightning is eagerly anticipating the high-stakes clash at Margaret Court Arena, where a berth in the decider can be sealed.

After finishing the regular season in second place, the side's also determined to prove what it's really made of against the minor premier.

It suffered an 11-goal defeat to the Vixens when they last met at Melbourne in round 10, a month ago.

"We were below par and we know that," assistant coach Kylee Byrne said.

"We put our hands up for that so we'll be expecting something completely different this weekend."

She said that outing was an uncustomary one for the team - a glitch in an otherwise highly-impressive campaign.

"(And) it just happened to be against the best team in the competition.

"We know that was our poorest performance of the year. That was a game that even our more experienced star players went missing a bit."

Byrne expected the team's top players to lift for this one (4pm).

"That's the beauty of this team. We've got those athletes who will pull out their best games under pressure.

"I think we've seen close to the best from the Vixens, yet I still think we've got more (to come)."

The Lightning defeated Melbourne by six goals in round two and is in ominous form, edging the third-placed Giants by a goal in Sydney in the final match of the regular season last weekend to carry a four-game winning streak into the play-offs.

The Vixens have won 10 of their past 11 matches, with a loss to the Giants three weeks ago a blemish.

Lightning's star shooter Caitlin Bassett heads into the match as one to watch.

She finished the regular season as the second highest goal scorer, with the most accuracy, shooting 589 goals from 626 attempts, at 94.1%.

Lightning coach Noeline Taurua is the second most experienced coach in play-offs with 16 finals appearances since 2008.

The winner will host the Super Netball grand final at Brisbane in a fortnight.

A loss would ensure the side hosts the preliminary final at the University of the Sunshine Coast in a week.

Meanwhile, the Giants and Magpies will meet in an elimination minor-semi final in Sydney on Saturday, with the victor to progress to the preliminary final.

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