Sunshine Coast Lightning athlete Kate Walsh (nee Shimmin) has announced she will retire from Suncorp Super Netball prior to the 2023 season.

Walsh has had a diverse and celebrated elite netball career, notching up over 100 National League games over 12 seasons, launching her career with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2011.

With a premiership win under her belt in 2013, Walsh played with the Queensland Firebirds in 2017 before returning to Adelaide for the 2018 season and finishing her career with Sunshine Coast Lightning — joining the Club in 2021.

Walsh said she is grateful for her time at Lightning and felt it was the right time for her to step away from the game at the elite level.

“I am so unbelievably grateful for the career I have had and the people I have met along the way. The opportunities that netball has given me is something that I will always be so grateful for. Thank you so much to the whole Lightning Club for supporting me on this decision and I cannot wait to see what this group of women can do in 2023,” she said.

“I love netball and I love Lightning but to not be able to give 100% to both would be doing a disservice to the sport and Club that has given me so much.”

Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said while she was looking forward to working with Kate next season, she supports the difficult decision she has chosen to make.

“Kate has made a significant contribution to the Sunshine Coast Lightning, she represented the club in her 100th National League game in 2021 and was the Team Spirit award winner in the same year,” she said.

“Kate is such a talented athlete and great person. I was really looking forward to working with her however have been fully supportive of her holistic decision to return to Adelaide. I wish Kate all the best and she will always remain part of the Lightning family.”

Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said: “It is always a very tough decision for elite athletes to retire from their sport and I understand that Kate has been agonising over it for a couple of months, and whilst we will miss her, we respect the careful consideration she put into her decision making.

“Aside from her court prowess in defence, we will miss Kate’s energy and enthusiasm around the Club. Kate has been a wonderful Club person, representing Lightning and the Sunshine Coast with pride and distinction. She will continue to be closely connected to the Lightning family, and I wish her and husband Trevor all the very best in their next adventures in Adelaide.”

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