Sunshine Coast Lightning has announced it has signed Ava Black for the 2024 Suncorp Super Netball Season.

The 20-year-old Toowoomba product made her debut for Lightning in 2023 when she was elevated as a temporary replacement player halfway through the season, and quickly became a fan-favourite.

Black was a Lightning Training Partner in 2023, playing multiple games for Sunshine Coast Thunder in the HART Sapphire Series competition, and was also part of Lightning’s Australian Netball Championships team, the Sunshine Coast Lightning Bolts.

Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds said Black looks right at home on the SSN court, and praised her versatility.

“Ava is enthusiastic and gives absolutely everything each time she steps onto the court. You wouldn’t know she has only played eight games at the elite level,” she said.

“With explosive speed and impressive defensive pressure, Ava will be incredibly valuable to us in 2024. She also brings fantastic versatility covering the three mid-court positions, which only strengthens our side.”

Black spoke highly of the Lightning environment, and is ready to take her opportunity after two years of Training Partner status.

“Deciding to sign with Lightning was an absolute given for me. It’s been the first professional sporting club I’ve ever been part of since signing as a Training Partner in 2022. I have always wanted my first contract on Queensland soil and to have the opportunity to bring my family and friends along the journey with me — so this is an absolute dream come true,” she said.

“I just love being part of this group, and I’m often caught just smiling in awe of everyone on a daily basis. I am often taken back to the call I had halfway through the 2023 season where B and Jeno told me I was going to be elevated into the team as an injury replacement player. I remember thinking, “okay now I have to step up here”, despite having that head noise and public perception of whether I was ready or deserving of that spot.

“Getting the official, “you’re ready kid”, from Belinda and Jeno for a 2024 contract was a whole new level of emotion. I think I laid on the floor for a good few hours until I finally picked up the phone to break the news to my family.

“I understand my role as a rookie, and I’ve been in this program now for two years to soak and absorb all the experiences and expectations that follow. I am just looking forward to getting out there and having a red hot go, and learning off some amazing women along the way. I can genuinely speak for everyone about how exciting the calibre and potential of this group is, so to be seen as someone valuable and who can contribute to that, is just an absolute privilege.”

Lightning’s official 2024 roster:
  • Mahalia Cassidy
  • Ava Black

Lightning’s 2024 player signings are proudly supported by: 

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