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GIANTS Netball defender Kristiana Manu’a was sent from the court for rough play as the Sunshine Coast Lightning stormed home to claim a controversial 58-57 Suncorp Super Netball victory.The GIANTS held a 52-45 lead five minutes into the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s clash at USC Stadium when Manu’a was given her marching orders after being called for a second act of rough play.

With the GIANTS forced to complete the match with six players, the Lightning outscored them 13-5, surviving two unsuccessful super shot attempts by Jo Harten in the dying seconds.

“That was quite a tricky game to play in, I don’t think I’ve been in anything quite like it,” Harten said after the bizarre events that saw the GIANTS contest the final 12 minutes with only six players.

Having been warned for dangerous play earlier in the match, Manu’a was suspended for two minutes in the third period after a rough clash with Lightning goaler Cara Koenen.

The GIANTS still managed to win the quarter 18-11 and looked set to hold on for their second win of the season with a seven-goal lead in the final term until Manu’a committed another rough challenge, this time on Lightning’s Laura Scherian, to prematurely end her night.

With the numerical advantage, the Lightning worked their way to the front with two minutes left then held on as Harten failed to connect on two attempted Suncorp Super Shots in the final minute.

The result sees the Lightning join the Melbourne Vixens and NSW Swifts on four wins while the GIANTS remain in sixth spot, still seeking their second victory for the season.

Goal shooter Koenen went a perfect 10-for-10 in the opening quarter as the Lightning grabbed a narrow 16-15 lead, GIANTS midcourter Jamie-Lee Price spending some time on the bench after a heavy collision with teammate Maddie Hay.

But with Price back in the action and Kiera Austin shifting into attack, the GIANTS managed to edge ahead 31-30 at halftime.

The GIANTS will attempt to bounce back against ladder leaders Melbourne Vixens at USC Stadium on Sunday, to be followed by the Lightning against the in-form Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Score breakdown
Q1: Lightning 16 v GIANTS 15
Q2: Lightning 14 v GIANTS 16
Q3: Lightning 11 v GIANTS 18
Q4: Lightning 17 v GIANTS 8

Nissan Player of The Match – Jo Harten (GIANTS Netball)

Lightning shooting statistics
Cara Koenen: Total points – 32 G1 – 32/34 (94%) G2 – 0/1 (0%)
Steph Wood: Total points – 15 G1 – 11/14 (79%) G2 – 2/7 (29%)
Peace Proscovia: Total points – 8 G1- 8/8 (100%) G2 – 0/0 (0%)
Binnian Hunt: Total points – 3 G1 – 1/3 (33%) G2 – 1/1 (100%)

GIANTS shooting statistics
Caitlin Bassett: Total points – 9 G1 – 9/11 (82%) G2 – 0/0 (0%)
Jo Harten: Total points – 28 G1 – 22/26 (85%) G2 – 3/7 (43%)
Keira Austin: Total points – 20 G1 – 16/20 (80%) G2 – 2/4 (50%)

Lightning starting seven: GS – Cara Koenen GA – Steph Wood WA – Laura Scherian C – Laura Langman WD – Maddy McAuliffe GD – Karla Pretorius GK – Phumza Maweni

GIANTS starting seven: GS – Caitlin Bassett GA – Jo Harten WA – Maddie Hay C – Jamie-Lee Price WD – Amy Parmenter GD – Kristiana Manu’a GK – Sam Poolman