Just two rounds into the Super Netball season, defending champions Sunshine Coast Lightning are already feeling the heat.
A 55-52 loss to the Queensland Firebirds in a ferociously-contested derby clash on Sunday kept the Lightning winless before 6627 vocal fans at Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
Under the new points system, the Lightning collected a bonus point for winning Sunday's first quarter 15-11, but the Firebirds came out blazing in the second quarter to claim a 31-24 halftime lead and were not headed again as they opened their winning account for 2018.
Diamonds players Gabi Simpson and Tara Hinchliffe were ferocious in defence for the Firebirds, setting the platform for the second-quarter rally.
"That was fearless netball and that's what Queensland Firebirds are about," said Simpson.
Lightning goal shooter Caitlin Bassett, the national team captain, made 35 of her 36 shots while goal attack Stephanie Wood made 17 of 18, but Bassett admitted the Firebirds did a good job of disrupting her team's possession.
It prompted Lightning coach Noeline Taurua to change up her line up and that helped as they won the third quarter and got within two goals in the final term.
The Lightning's loss followed an opening weekend defeat by the Sydney-based Giants and it doesn't get any easier for their title defence when they face impressive and unbeaten West Coast Fever on Saturday.
"Next week is a big one for us, we really need to come up with a win," said Bassett, who played nine seasons with the Fever before switching clubs when Super Netball started last year.
In Bassett's absence, the Fever boast another super shooter of their own this season in Jamaican Jhaniele Fowler, who bagged 62 goals at 93 per cent accuracy in a comprehensive 68-57 trouncing of the talented Magpies in Perth.
That haul came a week after Fowler shot a competition-record 66 goals from 68 attempts on debut in a 75-56 mauling of the Adelaide Thunderbirds.