GAME ON: Sunshine Coast Lightning are bracing for a tough fight against the Firebirds in a Queensland derby in Brisbane.
GAME ON: Sunshine Coast Lightning are bracing for a tough fight against the Firebirds in a Queensland derby in Brisbane. Paul Kane

Lightning fired up for Queensland Derby

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast coach Noeline Taurua says the Lightning are bracing for a physical and hungry Firebirds in their Queensland derby.

The Lightning will square off with their state rivals at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on Sunday, in what is considered their first home game of the Super Netball season.

While the Sippy Downs-based outfit enter the clash on the back of a stellar victory, Firebirds lace up yet to earn their first win after drawing with Collingwood last week.

"I think they may be a bit unhappy, they were up last week eight or nine against Collingwood going into the first quarter (break),” Taurua said.

"They should've been able to secure that win and they did the same in the first round where they had a really good start and weren't able to finish.”

With that in mind, Taurua was expecting Firebirds to come out hard during what will be an already hotly contested clash for round three.

"There's always that heat around the 'Battle of the Bruce' and them being the number one Queensland team, so they put that upon themselves, and like our last game we had it's going to be a doozy I reckon so we're looking forward to it,” she said.

"I think it's going to be a physical game...so we've got to be prepared for that and I'm looking forward to that physicality.

"That's going to be a new dimension and I'll be interested to see if we can handle that and can execute under pressure.”

Aside from the goal shooter bib, the starting squad has largely remained unchanged between round one and two and Taurua was keen to continue mixing things up with Cara Koenen and Peace Proscovia under the hoop.

"I think it's of strength to us and I want to keep both in touch with the ball so time will tell I suppose as we go along what the starting seven would be but also absolutely (we can) change up when need be,” she said.

Koenen said she had been working on a "few things” from those outings and was eager to hit the court on Sunday.

The Lightning have a solid record against the Firebirds, only losing one of their previous five fixtures.

"We have had a few great battles against Firebirds and I think we know going into every single on of them that they're going to bring the physicality to us which is something we've been preparing for this week at training,” she said.

"We're preparing for some big hits to happen and probably some close scorelines as well.”

Centre pass for the game is 1pm.


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