Taurua keeps Super Netball rivals guessing

The more Australia sees of New Zealand's World Cup-winning netball coach Noeline Taurua, the less is known about her team.

That is the art of her coaching as Taurua's Sunshine Coast Lightning creep closer towards finals' hosting rights and potentially a third straight Super Netball crown.

A gripping 50-48 home court win Saturday against the competition-leading Swifts displayed what makes second-ranked Lightning such a tough team to beat.

Over two wildly successful seasons, the reigning champions have become known for the gold-plated performances of captain and Silver Ferns veteran Laura Langman plus South African defender Karla Pretorius.

Yet still there are surprises. Taurua started with Jacqui Russell over premiership winner Maddy McAuliffe at wing defence.

Cara Koenen started ahead of Ugandan international Peace Proscovia at goal shoot for the second consecutive week.

And Australian Diamonds star Steph Wood was benched at three-quarter time when the game, and second place on the ladder, had almost slipped away from the Lightning.

"It's a testament to Noeline's coaching that she backs all 10 players and they can come on and adjust well," said Koenen who shot 26 goals at 86 per cent before Proscovia coolly sank the Swifts in the final term.

"Being able to handle those changes gives us something we can use to combat other teams.

"It means they can't get used to the same rhythm against us.

"We're definitely not one-dimensional. Everyone brings something unique."

McAuliffe faces a battle to win back the WD bib after Russell constantly harassed NSW's wing attacks.

Despite stalling in the final quarter when the Sunshine Coast shot nine of the last 12 goals, the Swifts also have a few options to call on.

The loss of Maddy Proud and Kate Eddy to season-ending injuries should have crushed them but they remain on top of the ladder and very nearly rolled the Lightning with an experimental line-up.

England Roses star Helen Housby should be a welcome inclusion next week against the third-placed Melbourne Vixens.

And mid-season recruit, former New Zealand captain Katrina Rore, looked at home after just two training sessions with the squad.

Rore's composure in the midcourt will grow in the run towards the finals as she builds her combination with outstanding defenders Maddy Turner and Sarah Klau.