Karla Pretorius of the Lightning (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
Karla Pretorius of the Lightning (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

Lightning chase finals boost

NETBALL: Goal defence Karla Pretorius says it's important the Lightning strike in their last round game of the season to earn a boost ahead of their third-straight finals campaign.

The Sunshine Coast will host Adelaide Thunderbirds at USC Stadium for Round 14 of Super Netball tonight (7pm).

While it's the last game for Thunderbirds, and Lightning are already guaranteed a spot in the finals, there's still plenty to play for.

Lightning are currently on top of the eight-team ladder with victory against Thunderbirds not just placing them in good stead of earning a minor premiership but a home semi-final too.

"Even though we are going into the finals it's going to be where exactly we end up (on the ladder) and where the semi-final is going to be," Pretorius told the Daily.

"So, that's (finishing strong) a big focus for us and making sure we get as much points as possible to get that home semi."

Earning the feat would be a major boost to the two-time Super Netball champions.

"It's always good playing at home and in front of the home crowd and also eliminating the fact that we have to travel. It's a bit easier playing at home," Pretorius said.

Tonight's game is also set to be coach Noeline Taurua's final regular season home fixture, after announcing earlier this week she was stepping down come season's end.

"We just want to embrace every opportunity we have and make sure that we make it a good one especially for her," Pretorius said.

The club is set to honour Taurua during the fixture, which is a sellout.

While they face the second-last Thunderbirds, Pretorius said their battle would be no easy task.

"They've got nothing to lose and they're a quality side," she said,

"We're definitely not underestimating them and what they're putting out there.

She said Lightning were focused on a stronger start to last week's nailbiter with Vixens.

Pretorius was relishing her looming battle with Silver Ferns sharp shooter Maria Folau.

"She's a phenomenal player and she is always a tough opponent to come up against. It's another challenge for myself in the style she plays … I'm looking forward to that challenge and coming up against her," she said.