Sunshine Coast Lightning has announced Tara Hinchliffe has signed on for the 2024 Suncorp Super Netball season.

Hinchliffe was contracted in 2023 and had just made her Australian Diamonds debut when she suffered a devasting ACL rupture at the Team Girls Cup pre-season tournament in February of 2023.

The hard-working defender was named Vice Captain in 2023, and remained a crucial piece of the Lightning leadership team although out with injury — providing feedback and advice from the bench next to the coaching team.

Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said Hinchliffe continued to lead in 2023 from the sidelines, and was looking forward to seeing her return.

“Tarzy has been such an important leader for us this past year while she’s been rehabbing her knee. Her ability to continue to lead while sitting on the sideline is truly commendable and demonstrates the respect her teammates have for her,” she said.

“Her defensive smarts and strength will be an important asset to us in 2024 and I am looking forward to seeing her back on the court again stronger than ever.”

Hinchliffe said she was looking forward to getting out on court again, and working on building connections with the fresh faces in the Lightning camp.

“I can’t wait to run out on court again in 2024, and to be able to do that in a Lightning dress is extra special. I want to repay the club, the fans and our team for sticking by me in 2023 and riding the rollercoaster with me. Everyone’s support has meant a lot, and I’ve been working hard to be ready to go for the new season,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to building on our first season under B and Jeno, and making connections with our new teammates who are joining. Our Sunny Coast supporters are unmatched so I’m definitely excited to see them all again!”

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