Shortest team takes on tallest as Lightning heads south
NETBALL: The Sunshine Coast Lightning may be Super Netball's 'shortest' team but it won't be daunted by the prospect of taking on the competition's 'tallest' team in Adelaide on Sunday.
The visitor will give away an average of 2.4cm across the court but assistant coach Kylee Byrne says that could work in her side's favour.
"We might be the shortest but we're the quickest and smartest,” she said.
She believes slight players have had to learn more crafts of the game to get around their opponents.
"You actually find, with shorter netballers, that they are smarter and their basic skills are that much better.
"They've had to work out how to get around defenders and how to deliver accurate. There is still a place in our game for shorter players.”
The Thunderbirds average height is 183.3cm and they boast the tallest player in the competition, with Jane Cook (200cm).
The Lighting's average height is 180.9cm and they have the smallest player in the national league, with Kelsey Browne (164cm).
"We don't really look too much at things like that (height difference) though,” Byrne said.
"Someone like (Lighting goal keeper) Geva Mentor might give away a few centimetres to some of those goal shooters but she can make up for it with how smart she is and by positioning her body and she works with those team-mates around her to eliminate any height advantage the other team might have.”
Second of eight teams after two rounds, the Lightning heads to sixth-placed Adelaide on its first real road trip.
It's renowned as a tough location to play at because of a knowledgeable and vocal crowd.
"They're very loyal supporters so they know when to cheer and to boo and when to give the opposition a really hard time as well so there's a really intense environment, more so than any other place we play at,” Byrne said.
The coaches will likely decide on the Lightning line-up on Friday.
Laura Scherian and Browne are battling for a spot.
The former was most valuable player in the team's round one draw with Queensland but was replaced by the latter minutes into the side's win over Melbourne last weekend.
"We know what both of those athletes can bring but we're going to throw some scenarios at them in training and see who puts their hand up,” Byrne said.
Meanwhile, Erena Mikaere and Karla Mostert are jostling for the goal defender's position.
Mikaere had the spot in round one but was replaced by the South African, who was MVP in round two.
"Not only have we got an attacking selection headache, we've also got a defensive one,” the assistant coach said.
"It's just working out combinations and looking at the opposition and thinking what can we hit them with first.”