In a major coup for the Club, Sunshine Coast Lightning can today announce the signing of Tara Hinchliffe to the 2022 team.
The former Queensland Firebirds Vice Captain is a welcome addition to Lightning’s circle defence.
Hinchliffe is a tenacious and talented young defender who has made a mark on the Suncorp Super Netball competition over the past four seasons.
She is also currently named in the Australian Development Squad and was a touring member in the Diamonds 2021 Constellation Cup campaign in New Zealand earlier this year.
Lightning Head Coach Kylee Byrne believes the signing of Hinchliffe is an excellent result for the Club as they look to the future.
“Tara has natural talent in spades but also has a reputation as a real hard worker and I believe she will really benefit from our Lightning program in years to come,” Byrne said.
“Despite being just 23 years of age, Tara has shown real maturity and leadership both out on court and in how she presents herself generally and we can’t wait to see what she can produce next season as part of the Lightning team.”
Hinchliffe said she is eager to make the move to the Sunshine Coast to continue her netball career at Lightning and contribute to the Club’s future success.
“I’m really excited for a new challenge, and to immerse myself within the Lightning team and culture,” Hinchliffe said.
“It was obviously a tough decision, but the opportunity to play with, and learn from, new players with different skills and international experience was hard to turn down.
“The unique experience of my first ‘major’ injury gave me time to reflect on my four years with the Firebirds, and how I could reenergise myself and my netball and chatting to Kylee made me really excited about new possibilities up the Coast.
“I’ve also watched [my twin] Maddie thrive at Lightning – the way she talks about the culture, the girls, the coaches and performance staff, was a big reason why I chose to sign with this Club.”
Throughout her time at Firebirds, Hinchliffe received a number of accolades, including finishing equal third in their 2020 Player of the Year awards, as well as being acknowledged with the 2019 Spirit Award.
Hinchliffe is currently rehabilitating a ruptured ACL at a training session ahead of the Firebirds and Lightning clash in Round 10 2021, however, Club medical staff position her on track for an early to mid-season return to professional netball.