Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Giants, Queensland Firebirds vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds

The 2022 Suncorp Super Netball Wooden Spoons started the year with a bang, dominating an exhausted Giants Netball team.

Meanwhile, the Firebirds harbor the Thunderbirds

Get the full breakdown of Sunday’s games in the Super Netball Wrap!

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Sunshine Coast Lightning, the 2022 Suncorp Super Netball wooden spoon, started the year with a bang, dominating an exhausted 15-goal Giants netball team that head coach Julie Fitzgerald failed to secure a win as she entered her 25th season as an elite coach.

Conversely, it’s been a dream start for new head coach Belinda Reynolds, despite the recent devastation of losing fresh Diamond debutant Tara Hinchliffe to her second cruciate ligament injury in three years.

Aided by the fact that Giants were missing Jo Harten and Maddie Hay from their usual starting lineup, Lightning jumped at the opportunity to get their season off to a flying start as they attempted to improve on their forgotten eighth-place finish last year.

Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds speaks to players. Image: Albert Perez
Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds speaks to players. Image: Albert PerezSource: Getty Images

Blitz goalkeeper Karla Pretorius only praised the new coaching duo and said after the game: “Belinda and Jen gave us clear instructions, we know exactly what the game plan is and what our roles are in the team, it’s just a matter of executing it . They give us all confidence and that really brings out the best in the group.”

Jamie-Lee Price captained Harten’s absence and was visibly and audibly frustrated for much of the game. From asking her players about time-outs to her signature physicality that sometimes got out of control, she was trying to reclaim a lead that was getting further and further out of reach.

This physicality was not exclusive to Price. Across the court, Giants had a massive 64 penalties compared to Lightning, who were their cleanest of the season so far at just 34.

Defensive stats were dominated by Lightning goaltender and MVP Kadie-Ann Dehaney with four intercepts, nine deflections and three rebounds. Her attackers rewarded the effort, converting 77 percent of the ball she won them. This was instrumental in helping them roll over the Giants, who converted just 60 percent of defensive wins.

Reynolds was quick to praise her team’s efforts after the game, saying a goal of the season is to “continue the strong one-on-one defense while staying clean.”

“I think that was the point where we got the upper hand on the Giants today. Our number of penalties was low so we were competitive,” she said.

Annie Miller from the Flash. Image: Albert PerezSource: Getty Images

After a slump in their domestic form in 2022, Cara Koenen and Steph Wood continued their dazzling performances from the international season to rip apart the Giants’ defensemen. In contrast, the NSW team had to attack the super shot every quarter.

Matisse Letherbarrow and Sophie Dwyer tried desperately to add some dignity to the goalkeeper, but unfortunately the radar was patchy for Matisse Letherbarrow and Sophie Dwyer, who failed to get the Giants back in the game.

Julie’s anniversary

Julie Fitzgerald has achieved almost everything in her 25 seasons as Bundesliga coach. A five-time Premiership coach at the NSW Swifts and a stint across the ditch that led Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to three consecutive Finals appearances. But after seven years at Giants, she hopes 2023 is the year they steal their first Premiership after failing in two previous major finals.

The glorious Pretorius returns

Karla Pretorius brought her Suncorp Super Netball back for Sunshine Coast Lightning after the birth of her daughter last year. She didn’t miss a beat and wreaked havoc with the Giants attacking end seemingly appearing out of nowhere to regain the ball she had no right to even be close to.

Giants lack their hard soul

Injured captain Jo Harten missed her first game for the Giants since the club’s inception seven years ago. Despite their preseason exploits, rookie Matisse Letherbarrow was unable to replicate that enticing form when it really mattered.

Fever wins against Vixens in thriller | 01:58

– NCA NewsWire Sunshine Coast Lightning vs. Giants, Queensland Firebirds vs. Adelaide Thunderbirds

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