SAM Poolman’s Super Netball dreams were dashed when Greater Western Sydney Giants suffered a 65-48 loss to Sunshine Coast Lightning in the grand final on Saturday in Brisbane.
The Novocastrian goal keeper and goal defence Bec Bulley put the Giants on the front foot early, blocking the path to goal shooter Caitlin Bassett to help the visitors establish an 8-3 lead.
But Lightning recovered from their first-quarter deficit to gain control, with a parochial crowd of 8999 cheering them home.
Geva Mentor, Laura Langman and Karla Mostert were imperious in defence for the Lightning with the least-heralded of the international trio, Mostert, picking up a deserved MVP award.
Lightning coach Noeline Taurua said the award was deserved for the "quiet achiever" who racked up three interceptions and two deflections.
"She's always a Trojan, I always see in the fourth quarter she comes out to play and gets turnovers.
"This week I said to her can she do it a wee bit earlier. She's got very good movement, really light on her feet. Like a springbok."
"We'd have liked to have settled a lot faster but we put a lot of pressure on to force the changes," Taurua said.
"Previously its been very difficult to be able to contest the ball against (Brice).
"Over the last couple of weeks we've been working on that quietly. They did that beautifully and they forced turnovers. Credit also to (Lauras) Langman and Scherian who put pressure on the outside.
Giants skipper Jo Harden agreed the defensive pressure of the Lightning was key.
"They had a really good defensive game against us tonight - especially in the second quarter - and when they grasped that lead it was just too hard to get it back.
"They put pressure on us, me to shoot longer than I have been and more pressure on the ball. That really told in the end. It's about retaining composure and we didn't do that well enough."
The Lightning whittled the Giants' lead down to 15-13 at the first break.
A10-3 scoring run in the second quarter then set up a five-point half-time advantage.
Bassett finished with 49 goals from 51 shots, with Stephanie Wood also providing 20 assists and scoring 17 from 21.
At the other end Brice managed 24 from 29 and Harten 20 from 25.
The lead was extended to 10 goals by three-quarter time and Sunshine Coast visibly relaxed as they romped to victory.
It's the third straight year the Brisbane Entertainment Centre arena has witnessed a Queensland grand final triumph after the Firebirds' back-to-back wins in the Trans-Tasman tournament.