Understudy stands up in Lightning victory

Ashlee Unie and Binnian Hunt played their part in Sunshine Coast Lightning's win over Collingwood.
Ashlee Unie and Binnian Hunt played their part in Sunshine Coast Lightning's win over Collingwood.

Binnian Hunt has pressed her case for a Sunshine Coast Lightning starting spot with a fine cameo performance in their 63-53 Super Netball defeat of Collingwood in Townsville.

It was impossible to overlook the dynamism of defender Phumza Maweni or the silky baseline footwork of Cara Koenen (41 goals), who is unlikely to play a national league game closer to her childhood home on Magnetic Island.

Less than a fortnight away from her first finals campaign as a head coach, Sunshine Coast boss Kylee Byrne has another option at wing attack.

She took the opportunity on Wednesday evening against the struggling Magpies to rest dual premiership players Laura Scherian and Maddy McAuliffe during the second half and it was Hunt who gave her coach much to ponder.

Hunt only played 19 minutes and she will kick herself for coughing up two last-quarter turnovers but her height, athleticism and clean hands gave the side an edge.

They will need more variety to challenge minor premiers the Melbourne Vixens, who they will face at home in the final regular season round.

"It's a great achievement as a club to reach the semi-finals again this year and we'll prepare for that," Maweni said after her five-intercept performance.

Shimona Nelson shot 40 goals at 91 per cent for the Magpies who finished strongly thanks largely to their stoic defence.

The second-placed Lightning would have liked to assert more authority in the first half against this season's wooden spooners.

They had control of the game but quick ball movement through the centre court was difficult to achieve against Collingwood's defiant defence.

Captain Geva Mentor and wing defence Melissa Bragg did just enough to disrupt the Lightning's feeders.

The pair had five gains and nine deflections between them at halftime to suggest the Lightning would have to find another gear to sweep the Magpies aside.

Sunshine Coast kept their opponents at arm's length with their ability to convert possession gains into goals.

Australian Associated Press