Sunshine Coast Lightning goal defence Karla Pretorius has been labelled the difference maker in their bid to go back-to-back.
Sunshine Coast Lightning goal defence Karla Pretorius has been labelled the difference maker in their bid to go back-to-back. DARREN ENGLAND

'Difference maker': Lightning defender's GF task

She has one of the slightest builds in Super Netball, a body that a stiff breeze could knock over but Karla Pretorius is as tough as they come.

She's the Sunshine Coast Lightning's goal defence and Geva Mentor's partner in crime at the back.

She's also the difference maker.

We saw it in the 2017 grand final win over Giants Netball where the South African's suffocating defensive style allowed the Sydney-siders no time or space.

We saw a repeat on Sunday - Pretorius (pictured) the menace, leading the charge with seven intercepts, 13 gains and three rebounds.

Days out from the Super Netball grand final, Lightning coach Noeline Taurua expects Pretorius to be at her "annoying" best.

"You look at her body and think you can blow her over but time and time again she comes up with the ball," Taurua said.

"She was so consistent in this comp last year and this year's the same.

"She's a big game breaker and ball winner. We expect more of the same."

And she'll have to be going up against the competition's top assister, Nat Medhurst.

Taurua believes her defender has the game plan to "annoy and frustrate" the evergreen Fever veteran.

"Karla is a trooper, so if they target her I'm sure she will handle it again easily," Taurua said. "It is awesome, she has that South African tenacity, so tough mentally and physically.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they do focus on her, but our strength is the collective. At any one time everyone has stood up and played their role."



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