Burgess: Loughborough Lightning ready to defend Superleague crown

·3-min read
Lightning won the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague with victory over Team Bath in the Grand Final
Lightning won the 2021 Vitality Netball Superleague with victory over Team Bath in the Grand Final

Loughborough Lightning head coach Vic Burgess is relishing the chance for her side to defend their Vitality Netball Superleague crown.

Lightning face London Pulse on Friday for a place in Sunday’s Grand Final at London’s Copper Box Arena, where they’ll be hoping to seal back-to-back championships.

And Burgess is hoping the experience of last year will serve her team well on the big stage as the other sides look to seize their title.

“This is the reason why we coach,” said Burgess.

“We’re in a performance environment, the girls have worked so hard to get to where we are and my job is just to make sure that they feel in the best position that they can be going into these finals.

“We’ll certainly be using our experience to help us through that and guide the rest of the squad.

“We’ve got a really strong cohort of girls that have been to finals weekend last year. We’ve got some great experienced players in our squad and some really good leaders.

“The girls worked hard last season to put them in a position where they’re champions and they want to be in a position where they’re champions again.

“You’ve then put a target on your back but you earn that target because you’re winners so the girls have been really relishing that and taking that challenge really positively.”

Lightning go into finals weekend having finished in second-place despite winning all but two of their games, with unbeaten Manchester Thunder topping the pile, but Burgess is simply looking to do her talking on the court.

“I feel like we’ve gone quite under the radar with our performances this season,” added Burgess. “We’ve won 18 out of 20 games.

“To achieve top four, I’m really proud of the girls for getting there. From now, it’s looking forward, we want to continue that journey.

“We made history for the first time last year by winning that championship and we want to continue to build on that and do it again.”

Lightning’s first hurdle will be a semi-final on Friday evening against a young and exciting London Pulse side, and Burgess is hoping to harness the power of the home crowd before an even bigger crowd on Sunday.

“To have a home semi-final will be great, to have that home crowd behind us, pushing us on – I’m really looking forward to that,” she added.

"There is a bit of noise around Pulse but for us, we take it game by game, we take a look at them and see what we can do to counteract their style. We’ll certainly be putting out a performance against them on Friday.

“Finals at the Copper Box, it’s always a great atmosphere and I really can’t wait to be in that arena with all the supporters there taking in the atmosphere.

“I’m sure the girls will be really grateful for all that support and we’ll step up to the occasion.”

Who will be crowned champions? Vitality Netball Grand Final 2022 takes place at London’s Copper Box Arena this Sunday 5 June. Get your tickets here

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