Round 4 preview: Pies host Lightning in intriguing battle

1 month ago

A do or die battle is on the cards for the Magpies tomorrow as they take on the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Sophie Taylor

The scenario:

While three losses to start the season do not paint a great picture for the Pies, realistically that is just one game out of the top four at this early stage of the competition.

A busy week - with three games in seven days - does not change the fact that the Magpies have a fire in the belly, and the extra bit of intensity this week could bode well to push the side to a maiden 2022 win.

A home crowd at John Cain Arena is just what the doctor ordered, with the Magpie Army's energy critical for the Pies on Wednesday night.

Coming off Round 3:

The Pies claimed two quarters against the Swifts during Round 3, proving that they are more than capable of putting up a fight.

Despite coming away with a loss, that small win will put some confidence into the squad and give them the drive to push hard for the full 60 minutes against the Lightning.

The Pies spent too much time out of play in the second half against the Swifts, making this a big focus as they look to take advantage of the accuracy to post from Sophie Garbin, Shimona Nelson and Gabby Sinclair.

The trio shot at a combined 93 percent in an impressive showing of accuracy, so converting that into volume is the next step.

Elsewhere, Kelsey Browne had another solid outing, registering 28 goal assists and 19 centre pass receives.

An eye on the opposition:

The Lightning have had a similarly slow start to the season, however claimed their first win of the season during Round 3 against the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Their one-goal win came off the back of a Reilley Batcheldor super shot to finish, however volume to post proved to be an issue for the Lightning throughout the tight contest.

Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Kate Walsh combined for nine gains while Mahalia Cassidy and Tara Hinchliffe both registered three apiece, which means the Pies will really need to treasure possession given the Lightning's evident ball-winning ability.

Last time we met:

The Pies have played the Lightning twice during the 2022 preseason, with a narrow loss and a draw the two outcomes. It is worth noting, however, that the Pies were missing Geva Mentor and Jodi-Ann Ward for both of those clashes.

In the context of in-season matches, the last time the Pies played the Lightning was during Round 9, 2021, with the hard-fought clash going into extra time after drawing level on the siren.

The eventual 65-67 result saw the Lightning come out on top, but not by much after a stellar performance from Jamaican duo Shimona Nelson (52 goals from 57 attempts) and Jodi-Ann Ward (seven gains, four intercepts).

While the Magpies circles do not look too different from the last time they played the Lightning, the Lightning's defensive end has changed significantly to pose a very interesting contest this time around.

Just five of the Lightning's game day 10 from that match remain, making this Wednesday clash a real chance for the Pies to consolidate their first win of the season.

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