OUT OF SORTS: The Lightning were toppled by 14 goals by the Magpies in Melbourne. Laura Scherian passes the ball under pressure from Kim Ravaillion during round one of Super Netball.
OUT OF SORTS: The Lightning were toppled by 14 goals by the Magpies in Melbourne. Laura Scherian passes the ball under pressure from Kim Ravaillion during round one of Super Netball. DANIEL POCKETT

Reigning champions urged to lift after club record loss

NETBALL: Coach Noeline Taurua says the Sunshine Coast need to get "smarter and hungrier" after their heavy season-opening loss to Collingwood.

The Lightning suffered a club record 57-43 defeat at Melbourne Arena on Saturday night, when they emerged with just one competition point for their second quarter effort.

With a relatively new-look outfit, the national league's reigning champions struggled to find their spark.

Taurua said they must lift ahead of their impending grand final rematch with West Coast Fever.

"We're heading to Perth next and we've got to get our A into G and get a bit more smarter and get a bit more hungrier," she said.

"It (the loss) has highlighted areas we need to do better, strategy wise. I know exactly what we need to work on, so we've got to do that in the upcoming week in our training.

"And it's probably a shift in attitude as well. I thought we ... probably didn't go out there to dominate so (there are) key learnings for us."

The Lightning struggled to create opportunities in attack.

They only had 54 attempts at goal, compared to the Magpies' 69.

"Even though we were able to secure some good ball in the defence end, we coughed it up in our attacking end," Taurua said. "(We) got a bit disjointed ... or too wide."

The Lightning pulled somewhat of a surprise by starting Cara Koenen at goal shooter, ahead of recruit Peace Proscovia.

Koenen nabbed 18 goals from 21 attempts before being replaced by the Ugandan representative in the third quarter and Proscovia bagged 10 from 11 shots.

But they weren't getting the ball into the circle and to the hoop enough.

Wing attack Laura Scherian was replaced by Jacqui Russell midway through the third quarter before they were switched back again in the final term.

Off-season signing Phumza Maweni enjoyed a strong full game at goal keeper alongside fellow South African representative Karla Pretorius, in a sign they could enjoy a strong combination at the back of the court.

Meanwhile, midcourter and captain Laura Langman returned to the Lightning with vigour after a one-year absence.

The Lightning went into the match as underdogs following the off-season departures of wing attack Kelsey Browne and goal keeper Geva Mentor (both to the Magpies) and Australian captain and goal shooter Caitlin Bassett (to the Giants).

Mentor and Browne played pivotal roles against their former club.

The Lightning's previous biggest defeat was an 11-point loss to the Vixens at Melbourne in their foundation year of 2017.



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