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Did we see the Super Netball grand final in Round 4?

It may be early, but there may have been an preview of the Super Netball grand final in Round 4?

It was physical, fast and featured a nail-biting finish - everything a netball fan could ask for in a top-of-the-table clash. As Annie Sergeant said in commentary on Saturday night: "if this is the preview for this season's grand final, I'm happy".

Leading into the competition, many thought the Round 3 match between the Magpies and Giants would be a preview of the decider but so far the Magpies have struggled under the pressure of the 'Super Team' tag, while the Giants have really taken charge of the competition.

However, it's the Lightning who have really surprised to sit joint second on the ladder, just three points behind the ladder leading Giants. The Lightning look serious contenders for the title and it was in Round 4 that we truly saw just how good these two teams could be.

While no-one expected the Lightning to struggle, expectations of the new Sunshine Coast team weren't overly high especially against the Magpies' and Giants' line-ups. But filled to the brim with international stars, they always had the talent and experience to make a strong push to the Super Netball finals.

The Lightning have managed to avoid the problem that has stifled the Magpies, too, with Collingwood unable to create strong connections between their star players in the pre-season.

On Saturday night, there were few gaps for the Giants to exploit in the Lightning side.

Making her Super Netball debut, Lightning goal-attack Steph Wood combined with Caitlin Basset in the circle from the outset. Making three goal assists and 10 feeds into the circle, as well as scoring 7/8 at 88% accuracy in the one half she played, Wood and Bassett worked around each other flawlessly and now look set to form a formidable pairing for the remainder of the season.

On the other end of the court, defenders Geva Mentor and Erena Mikaere seemed to have the wood over Jo Harten and Susan Pettitt from the first whistle, eventually leading to Harten's replacement at the halftime break. With the fewest goals conceded so far this competition, it's truly a testament to how strong their defensive end is.

Both ends of the court were working flawlessly for the Lightning in the opening half and well into the second. But as was expected from the Giants, the table toppers came back firing.

Led by their captain Kim Green, the Giants pushed the Lightning hard, even blowing out to a nine-goal lead before the Lightning clawed them back in the final minutes.

Giants centre Serena Guthrie had her best game of the season in matching, if not bettering, Lightning centre Laura Langman; a hard task for any player. Her combination with Green seemed to finally click -- one of the Giants's few issues this season -- while she was a continued nuisance in defence. Green was at her usual best, sending typically-accurate bullet passes into the circle.

Although they were under the pump early in the circle, a second-half change to shooter Kristina Brice set up the Giants for a fierce finish with Brice an easy target for Guthrie and Green to fire the Giants ahead. While their defenders Bec Bulley and Sam Poolman made their presence felt on the other end of the court.

The battles across the board were physical and fiery, with neither side giving an inch and the one-goal difference was testament to just how close these two teams are.

So only one question remains; who is next to step up, match and really take on these two contenders?

At this stage only two sides look likely to challenge the Lightning and Giants.

For the Magpies the wait isn't long, taking on the Lightning this weekend. But they'll have to wait until Round 9 to rectify their earlier eight-goal loss at the hands of the Giants, and after Sunday's emphatic win over the Adelaide Thunderbirds they're starting to show flickers of the class everyone expected of them.

For the second-placed Firebirds (second through goal difference), they will have to wait till Round 7 to replay their opening round draw with the Lightning and Round 8 to take on the Giants for the first time. But to match the Lightning or Giants, they'll need Romelda Aiken to really fire, something she's struggled to do so far this season.