Lightning ram home derby advantage

Sunshine Coast Lightning's Super Netball title defence has taken a ruthless turn in a 71-56 derby demolition of Queensland Firebirds.

An understrength Firebirds needed everything to go right at Boondall Entertainment Centre but they remain winless after the Lightning's Laura Scherian and Peace Proscovia (53 goals) exposed some lopsided match-ups.

Wing attack Scherian's speed and court craft was peerless, feeding a landslide of goal-shooting opportunities to Proscovia.

Firebirds shooter Gretel Tippett (40 goals from 40 attempts) fought all the way in front of 3561 fans but couldn't do enough to turn the tide against an opposition who have won their last two games by an average of 20 goals.

Gabi Simpson, one of the Firebirds' heaviest contributors over the opening fortnight, was forced out on match eve with a groin injury.

Stand-in captain Caitlyn Nevins had a devilish time trying to create space at the attack end under enormous pressure from Karla Pretorius.

There was little the Firebirds could do to dull her impact.

Regardless of the quality of their passes, the South African's long limbs speared into the ball's path and she had four intercepts in the first quarter alone.

At the other end, where Simpson usually prowls, the Firebirds had no suitable replacement.

Scherian ran virtually unchecked and even when her feeds weren't perfectly placed, the strength and clean hands of Proscovia ensured her team was rewarded.

Simpson's absence due to a groin injury made it difficult for coach Roselee Jencke to find the right match-ups.

"She's a pivotal part of our team. She's our captain, our fearless leader," Tippett said. "We all felt for her and she'd do anything to be out there.

"It shows how much we missed her."

The last sign of fight from the Firebirds came in the third quarter when Jencke swung prolific goal shooter Romelda Aiken into defence.

It was too little, too late though it worked, with Aiken grabbing a rebound, four gains and an intercept to frustrate the Lightning attackers.