KEY PLAYER: Lightning's Laura Scherian.
KEY PLAYER: Lightning's Laura Scherian. Patrick Woods

Lightning faces plenty of opposition for title this season

THE Sunshine Coast faces some conspicuous obstacles in their quest to keep the Super Netball title, according to bookmakers.

The Lightning were installed equal $4 favourites to win the national league, by Ladbrokes, but alongside Giants and Collingwood Magpies, with Melbourne Vixens also rated highly.

"Competition power brokers would be rapt with how even the spread of talent is across Super Netball but that certainly doesn't make it easy for punters," Ladbrokes head of media Roger Oldridge said yesterday.

"Our bookmakers are always going to keep the reigning title holders pretty safe in the market but there are obvious obstacles to whether the Lightning can back it up."

"Laura Langman has left a major hole in the mid-court so pressure will be on far less experienced Lightning to step up but with the rocks of (Caitlin) Bassett and (Geva) Mentor at either end, there is an obvious strength to their team.

"Collingwood will be better as they continue to assemble a dream team, while the Firebirds have arguably the biggest in of the season with Laura Geitz returning meaning they will be better as will the Queensland derbies."

Lightning assistant coach Kylee Byrne said her side might not be considered to be big a threat without Langman but that could actually play into their hands.

"With the departure of Laura Langman people are underestimating us, which is exactly where we want to be," she said. "... I don't think people are expecting us to go back to back, which in a way is a good thing."

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