Lightning to silence doubters in netball

Sunshine Coast keeper Phumza Maweni (left) will be a key figure in their Super Netball semi-final.
Sunshine Coast keeper Phumza Maweni (left) will be a key figure in their Super Netball semi-final.

Sunshine Coast coach Kylee Byrne is bemused by talk that her Super Netball team struggled this season, pointing to their second place finish on the ladder.

Ahead of their major semi-final against Melbourne Vixens on Saturday, much has been made of the Lightning's scoring, ranked as the third lowest in the competition.

But playing in their fourth consecutive finals series, which has yielded two titles plus last year's grand final loss, the Lightning have proven there's more than one way to achieve success.

The Lightning and minor premiers Melbourne square off at Sunshine Coast Stadium at 1pm for a grand final berth while the West Coast Fever and defending champions NSW do the same in the elimination semi-final on Sunday.

Byrne said it wasn't her team's style to score - or concede - many goals.

"I love that people think our season was a mixed bag - I just had someone say we struggled a bit - and I love from the outside that's what it looks like," Byrne told AAP.

"We've never been a team that's scored in 70s or high 60s - that's our playing style and that's what we believe in because while we're not scoring goals, defensively it's such a focus for us to keep teams to a low score.

"I know within the team we have the absolute belief we can do this."

The teams met in the final round last Sunday in a see-sawing battle before the Vixens ran away for a four-point win, with the Lightning using the final term as preparation for the final.

"We hadn't seen them since round three so there was a real purpose of just trying to gain some more information or as Laura Langman called it, a 'seek and find mission'," Byrne said.

"It was just what we needed, knowing we are going to meet the Vixens again this week.

"There was a whole lot of chess going on in the background with both teams."

The Lightning expect Australian wing attack Liz Watson, who only played 30 minutes in her return from an ankle injury, to start for the Vixens.

"She's had another week to get over that so we're expecting Lizzie to start and be able to run out the whole game," Byrne said.

"She's such a powerhouse and has had such a great year so we're planning for her to be there."

A key match-up is Lightning's South African goalkeeper Phumza Maweni up against Mwai Kumwenda, who is the star of the Malawi national team.

"It's Phumza's second year in the competition and last year she was finding her feet but this year she's been one of our most consistent performers," Byrne said.

"We know she can come out on the weekend and have an absolute blinder."

Australian Associated Press