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Lightning locks in dream 2024 list

Sunshine Coast Lightning has revealed its 10-strong squad for 2024, retaining seven players from the 2023 roster including two foundation players and two returning from injury.

Boasting a versatile and talented squad, Lightning’s ’24 side reflects a balance between experienced athletes and exciting, emerging talent.

Foundation players and two-time premiership winners Steph Fretwell and Cara Koenen will return to the Club for their eighth season, their combination after years of playing together at a national and international level causing headaches for other teams.

Mahalia Cassidy returns for her fourth season on the Sunshine Coast, her ability to play all three mid-court positions, paired with her determination and strong work ethic, make her an invaluable member of the Club.

Ashleigh Ervin also earns herself a spot in the Lightning roster for the second year in a row after a stand-out 2023 playing for Lightning and Australia in the Fast5 Netball World Series.

Tara Hinchliffe and Reilley Batcheldor will join the players returning next year — both determined to get back on court after suffering devastating ACL injuries and missing the 2023 season.

After debuting for Lightning as a Temporary Replacement Player in 2023, Ava Black’s hard work has been rewarded with her first Suncorp Super Netball contract.

Another rookie, Leesa Mi Mi, has also been rewarded with her first contract, moving up the Coast from the Queensland Firebirds where she was a temporary replacement player in 2023.

To round out the Lightning roster, Australian Diamonds players Liz Watson and Courtney Bruce make the move to the Sunshine Coast after playing at their previous Clubs (Melbourne Vixens and West Coast Fever) since their debuts.

Sunshine Coast Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said she’s proud of the list the Club has been able to assemble for 2024.

“When we went to the recruiting table we focussed on not only achieving success this year, but also setting ourselves up for sustained success,” Reynolds said.

“A lot of our younger players are products of the Netball Queensland pathway and we’ve got some incredible experience as well.”

When asked what message she’ll be giving the players during preparations for next season, Reynolds’ message was clear.

“Do the work, because nothing is given and everything is earned,” she said.

“We’ve started to work on our values and being a united front leading into this season, as well as being relentless in everything we do. This includes training, preparation and obviously game day, but also means having real pride in the Club and bringing our Members, fans and partners along the ride with us.

“All of the players will know their role in the team, both on and off the court. And I think if they just bring their authentic selves, we’ve got the ingredients to have a great season ahead of us.”

Lightning will play its first game of the 2024 Suncorp Super Netball season on Sunday, 14 April against the NSW Swifts at UniSC Arena. View Lightning’s full fixture here.

Originally published on

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