Suncorp Super Netball

Lightning coach concerned about league-wide mental fatigue as COVID-19 changes continue

Sunshine Coast Lightning coach Kylee Byrne is concerned that the day-to-day changes to the Suncorp Super Netball season are starting to take their toll on the league mentally.

The comments came after her side’s 59-49 loss to Queensland Firebirds at Nissan Arena, Brisbane, as Netball Australia waits to see what South Australia’s Stage 4 restrictions will mean for Adelaide’s Super Hub.

Coach Byrne said the lead-up to every game is taking a toll.

“We spoke before the game about desperation and passion, we knew that is what the Queensland Firebirds would have today. We knew [those things can] really motivate a team – but what all teams have gone through the past few weeks – not just us, I am watching teams who are really mentally fatigued,” she said post-game.

“The expectation is that every time you step out on court you have to be at your best for 60 minutes. And I am not actually sure that is possible at the moment.

“The lead-up for everyone is so emotional. It is the emotion that is so draining… look at what the Firebird went through.”

Firebirds lost shooter Tippah Dwan, who was excluded after she was told to self-isolate after being identified as a person in a Tier 1 exposure site, and keeper Tara Hinchcliffe to injury 24 hours before the match.

Even with all of the mental concerns for Lightning, coach Byrne also said she had four players being looked at – including star goaler Steph Wood.

With rumours of three matches condensed into just over a week ahead, seemingly confirmed by commentator Liz Ellis on commentary, questions will be asked about player management.

Game lengths may also be reviewed.

Despite everything happening around the match, coach Byrne said Lightning just didn’t put it together when it counted.

“In the end, we basically didn’t convert gains,” she said.

“We got 20 gains. That’s good but we sat around 40 per cent conversion and Firebirds will punish you – which they did.

“We kept doing the same thing and flogging a dead horse – it didn’t work.”

Both Firebirds and Lightning remain in the dark as to where and who the clubs will play next.

The Netball Post thanks The Goal Circle for the audio – listen to the show every Friday.

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