Vixens stun netball leaders Lightning

Cellar dwellers Melbourne celebrate their stunning win over the Super Netball-leading Lightning.
Cellar dwellers Melbourne celebrate their stunning win over the Super Netball-leading Lightning.

Defiance off the court transformed to heroics on it for the Melbourne Vixens who have claimed a shock 55-52 Super Netball win against league leaders the Sunshine Coast Lightning.

Under scrutiny after failing to travel to Perth last weekend for their round nine fixture, the last-placed Vixens astonishingly clawed back from an eight-goal deficit in the fourth quarter for a confidence boosting win at John Cain Arena.

At the heart of it was Kaylia Stanton, the shooter who had previously been battling for a starting spot but showed enormous courage throughout the game against the Lightning's international defenders.

Stanton shot 18 goals, including a long range super shot deep in the final term when the game was on the line.

"She's worked pretty hard the last three weeks and been doing extras with the shooting group," Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said of Stanton.

"We've been talking about being fearless and backing ourselves and she really took that on."

The narrative was set to hang on a masterful performance from the Lightning's Steph Wood before the Vixens' fightback.

Wood started at goal attack and featured in three positions on her way to 15 goals and 27 feeds.

Sunshine Coast captain Karla Pretorius produced some magical moments as well but the Lightning froze in the fourth quarter when they should have played with more authority.

The Lightning will hold on to top spot for now but they will likely rue letting this game slip from their grasp.

It was the Vixens' first game in three weeks and they re-emerged as polar opposites to the side that has dragged their feet for much of the season.

Stanton is playing for her future in the national league and she conjured a first half brighter than anything she has produced thus far for the Vixens.

The former Fever goal attack was a confident target, shooting at 85 per cent accuracy and pumped eight feeds into circle partner Mwai Kumwenda.

Emily Mannix's return from a hand injury was an industrious one as she contributed three first-half intercepts for the Vixens.

They approached to within a super shot of Sunshine Coast in the third quarter before the visiting Lightning extended their lead to eight halfway through the last quarter.

Australian Associated Press