Lightning braced for netball derby fight

Murray Wenzel

Sunshine Coast coach Noeline Taurua says her side won't be consigned to the role of spectator despite taking the scenic route to Sunday's elimination semi-final against the Queensland Firebirds.

The defending Super Netball champions lost their first three games this season but held their nerve to work into the top four before being pipped for third by the Firebirds in last week's final round.

Both squads are stacked with international talent, have won the last three national titles between them and their last four games ahead of the knockout battle at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

But there is no doubt the Lightning think they can strike twice, with Taurua adamant when asked who wins if both teams play to their potential.

"It'll be us ... if we play our best game it will be Lightning and I'm very sure about that," she said.

"There's a lot of talk that's happened, but we know that talk's cheap and we've just got to do it on court.

"When you get into semi-final contention it's about the team that wants it more ... the fight on court and we can't afford to wait and let it go by."

Lighting defender Karla Pretorius was the MVP in last year's grand final win on the same Brisbane court.

"Sometimes people take the highway to the end point, I think we took the scenic route," she said of their season.

"Out of those trials and tribulations you can either weaken or you can get stronger. We chose to become better out of it."

The Firebirds lost two and won two grand finals in the four years prior to Super Netball's inaugural season, when they finished fifth.

"It's so great to be back in finals ... we've given ourselves that opportunity. We are just ready and raring to go," Firebirds captain Gabi Simpson said.

"They have a Super Netball trophy, we don't.

"They've played Super Netball finals, we haven't ... so they're probably one up on us there."

The winner will play the loser of Saturday's major semi-final between the Giants and West Coast Fever, who are fighting for direct entry to the grand final.