Lightning looking to strike on Super Netball road trip

Esther Linder |

Lightning recruit Courtney Bruce (right) returns to Perth for her first match against her old team.
Lightning recruit Courtney Bruce (right) returns to Perth for her first match against her old team.

West Coast Fever and Sunshine Coast Lightning will be looking to remain unbeaten when they do battle in the second round of the Super Netball season in Perth.

Lightning coach Belinda Reynolds said Sunday’s game at the RAC Arena in Perth would be a tough one for her side to win.

Both teams decisively defeated their opponents in round one, with Lightning beating the Swifts 79-63 and Fever taking out the Giants 84-65.

Lightning recruit and Diamonds defender Courtney Bruce will return to Perth for her first match against her old team, after the former Fever captain made the move to Queensland for the 2024 season.

“Fever are a formidable side,” Reynolds said.

“They’re full of international talent as well. They’ll surprise a few teams this year.

“When you look at their attack line, they’ve got internationals in Jhaniele (Fowler-Nembhard) and Shanice Beckford.

“We really have to put the pressure on early in our defence to get on top of that.”

Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard
Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard is always an imposing presence for the West Coast Fever. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

Such is the threat posed by Fowler-Nembhard, the Lightning have taken special measures in their preparation – including calling up a male training partner to replicate the Jamaican shooter’s height during drills.

“Jhaniele is such a formidable target at the attack line, so we’re doing our homework,” Reynolds said.

Kelsey Browne shone in the Fever’s season-opener against the Giants, with Reynolds hoping Diamonds captain Liz Watson’s work in the midfield can stymie the clinical green attack.

Spearheaded by their fearsome front-court trio of sharp-shooting Cara Koenen, captain Steph Fretwell and Watson, playing away from home shouldn’t prove too stressful for the Lightning, who performed brilliantly throughout the pre-season.

Fever coach Dan Ryan said Lightning were among the favourites to win the premiership.

“It’s going to be a test of our game sense and smarts against Lightning that’s completely different to Giants,” Ryan said after April 13’s win in Sydney.

“Their game plan will be very different, their defensive mechanics will be very different.”

AAP