Who will come out on top in the first Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final between Lightning and Giants
THE Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Giants Netball will face off against each other in this weekend’s inaugural Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final.
The two expansion clubs finished the season in second and third place, however, they managed to defeat the Melbourne Vixens who were the minor premiers to book their spots in Saturday night’s game.
The Lightning advanced straight into the grand final, earning a week off after winning their semi-final against the Vixens.
The Vixens put pressure on the Lightning right up until the end, however, they ran out of time and couldn’t catch up. The Giants are playing a very physical game during finals and it’s paying off. They defeated the Magpies by a goal in a tight semi-final that saw them come back from behind and they carried that momentum into their preliminary final against the Vixens.
The Giants and the Lightning have played each other twice and both games were thrillers with the winning margin coming down to a goal on both occasions.
In Round 4, the Giants managed to hold onto their one goal lead at the three-quarter time break to win the match, however, Round 14 was a slightly different story.
The last time the two teams met it was another tight contest with the teams both tied on 41 points going into the fourth quarter.
During the fourth term, the Giants managed to escape to a four-point lead, however, the Lightning kept fighting and turned over the ball to claw back the four points during the last five minutes and win the game. The grand final is likely to be a nailbiter with both teams playing some of their best netball in the last few weeks.
Both sides are great at defensive pressure with the Lightning’s Geva Mentor and the Giants’ Sam Poolman ranked first and second in defensive rebounds for the competition. The Giants celebrate with their fans after their win against the Melbourne Vixens.Source: AAP Mentor and Poolman are among the top players for intercepts, however, the Lightning have a small advantage with Karla Mostert and Mentor ranked above Poolman for intercepts this season. The Giants shooters are having a good season in the circle with Susan Pettitt at 83%, Jo Harten at 86% and Kristina Brice at 89% accuracy.
For the Lightning, Caitlin Bassett is shooting at an impressive 94% with her usual partner Stephanie Wood at 82%.
In the mid-court, Serena Guthrie is currently on 170 goal assists for the season, in front of the Lightning’s Kelsey Browne who is currently on 149.
Overall the Giants have taken 686 receives from centre passes in matches and the Lightning 719. Statistically, the Lightning seem to have an edge over the Giants but considering how close the two teams have been in their previous meetings and how well each side has been playing, the grand final could go either way.
The grand final is likely to come down to the wire as both teams will put it all on the line to come out on top.
Originally published for Fox Sports