Lightning in sight of finals but wary of injury-hit Vixens
NETBALL: The Sunshine Coast Lightning remain ultra-wary of the Vixens despite a season-ending injury to their star goal shooter, heading into their final round blockbuster in Melbourne on Sunday.
There's a finals berth at stake and the visitors basically can secure their spot by winning two quarters.
The reigning champions won't have to contend with Mwai Kumwenda, who was struck down by a serious knee injury.
But they're still on guard.
"I think any game you play against the Vixens is going to be a tough battle," midcourter Kelsey Browne said.
"She was a massive part of their team but I know that any team in the competition, when there's been an injury or a setback, has really rallied.
"That's probably when teams are most dangerous, when something like that happens, because players do really get behind each other."
"They're going to be out there to win and will be really hungry so we need to stick to our game plan and not get caught up in the emotional side of it and just do the job we're going down there to do."
Browne said her former team still boasted plenty of strike power.
"They've got a really strong mid-court, with Renae Ingles back in that side at wing defence and with Liz (Watson) and Kate (Moloney), who are two Diamonds.
"You don't want to take them lightly. They've had an injury (but) they're going to come out fighting so we need to make sure we stick to what we need to do."
Her team-mate, Madeline McAuliffe, believed the Vixens would still pose a threat without Kumwenda.
"A loss (of a player) can sometimes spark something so were definitely not expecting them to be any easier," she said.
"They've got other shooting options and I know on our team how much depth we have and I'm sure the Vixens have the same.
"We're going to their home ground. This year it's been proven that teams have been more successful on their ground so we're wary of that and we're not taking them lightly."
The Lightning could finish the eight-team regular season as high as second or as low as fifth on the ladder, depending on results from this weekend's final round.
If they only win one quarter against the Vixens and lose the match, they would need to lose by four goals or less to feature in finals, according to Super Netball's stats gurus.