World-class defender Karla Pretorius will make her return to Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) with Sunshine Coast Lightning in 2023.
After recently giving birth to her first child in South Africa, Pretorius — who is a Lightning Foundation player and former Captain — will make her way back to the Sunshine Coast to re-join the team for next season.
Sunshine Coast Lightning CEO Danielle Smith said she was proud to support Pretorius in her return to netball, both during and after having a baby.
“Netball is a leader in women’s professional sport with its Pregnancy and Parental Management Policy and is committed to providing a safe and inclusive environment for SSN athletes who are pregnant or have young children,” she said.
“We take great pride at Sunshine Coast Lightning in supporting Karla through her pregnancy, particularly keeping her connected to the Club from South Africa, and now assisting with her return to professional netball and Australia.”
Pretorius has played 119 national league games in her career and ended the 2021 season with 33 intercepts, 50 deflections and 55 gains.
Head Coach Kylee Byrne spoke about what Pretorius brings to the Club.
“There are so many reasons why Karla was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2019 Netball World Cup and has been our Player of the Year numerous times here at Lightning,” she said.
“The ability of a world class player like Karla to understand the game and when to have impact that drives success is something that is naturally built over time and comes with experience. As a person, leader and netballer, having Karla back in our team will strengthen all areas of our Club and on-court performance.
“Karla’s anticipation to come up with the ball at big moments in the match will be so important for this 2023 group. Aligned with her leadership, game management, calmness and netball prowess are all areas where she will contribute enormously to our 2023 season.”
Pretorius said she was looking forward to re-joining the team and being back on the Coast.
“It is a big challenge laying ahead in returning to play, but one that excites me. I also know I have a lot of support in doing so,” she said.
Karla Pretorius’ return to Lightning rounds out the squad of 10 for the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball season, with the majority of Lightning’s squad already signing to two-year agreements in 2022.
2023 LIGHTNING ROSTER
- Steph Wood
- Cara Koenen
- Karla Pretorius
- Laura Scherian
- Kate Walsh
- Mahalia Cassidy
- Kadie-Ann Dehaney
- Tara Hinchliffe
- Reilley Batcheldor
- Annie Miller