THUNDERBIRDS and Lightning got very, very frightening for Adelaide as the Sunshine Coast bolted to a record 75-44 victory to heat up the race between the Queensland clubs to play finals netball.
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The 31-goal margin was Adelaide’s worst defeat in the two seasons of Suncorp Super Netball as the rampaging reigning champions captured a maximum eight competition points.
But it still was not enough to get the Lightning into the top four with two rounds of the regular season remaining.
The Sunshine Coast joined the fourth-placed Firebirds on 55 competition points after 12 rounds but stay in fifth place on percentage. The Melbourne Vixens are in third place on 56 points after their 60-58 loss to the Giants yesterday.
The Firebirds were ultra-impressive in their 60-54 win over West Coast Fever in Perth on Saturday night, handing the competition leaders their first home loss of 2018.
Queensland secured two bonus points in arguably their best win of the year on the back of relentless defensive pressure led by Laura Geitz and Kim Jenner.
Firebirds goal attack Gretel Tippett won player-of-the-match honours with 19 goals, 21 assists, five rebounds, 36 feeds and an intercept while Romelda Aiken piled on 41 goals for the visitors.
After the Firebirds toppled the ladder leaders in fine style, the Lightning put the cellar-dwelling T-Birds to the sword in emphatic fashion, leading by nine goals at quarter-time and 20 goals at halftime.
Sunshine Coast star Caitlin Bassett had 41 goals to her name before being replaced with Steph Wood (20/25) and Cara Koenen (14/17) continuing the demolition job on the hapless home side.
“We knew going into the match we needed to come away with maximum points and this win puts us in a good position,” Lightning coach Noeline Taurua said.
“There are five teams in the running and anything can change between the second and fourth positions.’’