Lightning prepares for a grand occasion in Super Netball
NETBALL: The Sunshine Coast Lightning will attempt to cap its stunning inaugural season when it meets Giants in the Super Netball grand final on Saturday night.
After an intense and much-hyped build-up, the two sides will collide for national league honours at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Bookmakers had the Sunshine Coast as a slight favourite for the clash after it finished the regular season in second place and toppled minor premier Vixens in the major semi-final.
With Australian goal shooter Caitlin Bassett, league-leading goal keeper Geva Mentor and experienced mid-courter Laura Langman in its ranks, the University of the Sunshine Coast-based unit has plenty of fire-power at its disposal.
But the Noeline Taurua-coached outfit, which is backed by the Melbourne Storm, is wary of the threat posed by its Sydney-based rival, which is also in its first campaign.
The Giants were third after the home-and-away fixtures but shook the play-offs with a demolition of the Vixens in the preliminary final a week ago.
They met twice during the year, sharing the spoils in one-goal thrillers.
Lightning captain Geva Mentor predicts another close contest.
"The performances they (Giants) have put on the court have been stellar so I expect it to be a tough encounter," she said. "I hope we're able to put on a brilliant performance."
Giants captain Jo Harten also believes the decider will be a thriller.
"It's going to be intense, that's for sure...it's going to go down to the wire," she said.
"We've played some really good netball (throughout the finals) but we've also been patchy in some of those games...so we're not going to rest on our laurels."