Lightning's Karla keen for a scrap
NETBALL: Stifling the attacking efforts of a Commonwealth Games gold medallist will be at the forefront of Karla Pretorius' mind during the Sunshine Coast's must-win clash against Swifts.
While the Swifts have "nothing to lose”, the Lightning enter the clash at USC Stadium on Saturday on the hunt for not only the win but maximum bonus points.
And, to achieve their goals, preventing Swifts from getting a strong start is set to prove crucial, according to Pretorius.
She is tasked with hampering the efforts of English Roses' star Helen Housby, who shot the winning goal for her country in the gold medal match against Australia at the Commonwealth Games.
"She is a very good goal attacker,” Pretorius said.
"Her athleticism and the way she controls that circle has been really good this season so for me it's obviously just slowing her down and not allowing her to move that freely or to be comfortable in that position.
"I think at the start of the game it's going to be so important to put her under pressure...Because when she is on roll she is on a roll and I think it's important to stop that.
"As a defensive unit it's also important for us to make sure our structures and principles work so that we can slow them down going into the circle.”
The Lightning fell to Swifts 59-56 in their previous encounter in round seven following a disastrous first quarter of play in which Swifts earned a 10 goal lead.
Pretorius was determined to ensure that didn't happen again and relished the challenge.
"In the previous game she (Housby) did very well against me so I just want to make sure that doesn't happen again,” she said.
"She is a tough player to play against so I'm excited to see how that match up is going to unfold.”
The Lightning are only just outside the finals-bound top four with plenty riding on a dominant result from their match this weekend, but despite the high expectations, Pretorius believed her teammates were ready for the challenge.
"We know that this is a crucial time for us and a win is very important and not just a win but to get all eight points,” she said.
"Without us putting too much pressure on ourselves, I reckon coming out of last week's game it gave us a lot of confidence the way we played.
"I know we prepared well this week and we can only control what we can control and have faith that everything will work out as it should so we are pretty pumped and ready for this weekend's game.”
The game is also set to be the last regular season fixture at their Sippy Downs home prior to finals.
"Playing in our own stadium in front of our own crowd is always amazing and always gives us that extra boost or that extra energy so we're lucky and excited to play.”
The round 13 match starts at 3pm.