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Russell Set To Retire At Season’s End

Sunshine Coast Lightning can today confirm that Jacqui Russell will retire at the conclusion of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season.

The Club would like to thank Russell for her incredible contribution to Lightning over the past three seasons, both on and off court.

The midcourter is poised to play in her 50th National League game when she takes to the court in Round 14 against Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.

While finishing her career at Lightning, Russell also had stints at Queensland Firebirds (2010-11) and English Super League’s Yorkshire Jets (2012).

“I decided at the end of 2019 that this year would be my last and while I still cherish every time I step out on court, I feel now is the right time for me to move on,” Russell said.

“I feel very lucky to have been a part of this Club for as long as I have – it was a second chance for me to play netball at this level and I thank Kylee for her belief in me.

“It’s been a blessing and I’ve made friendships that will carry on long after the end of this season.”

Head Coach Kylee Byrne said it was hard to aptly describe the impact that Russell has around the Club but that she will be greatly missed.

“Here at Lightning we will be forever grateful for having Jac in our team especially in our formative years. Jac is the ultimate team person and has amazing leadership qualities that have the ability to unite the group,” Byrne said.

“As a school teacher she has also been working tirelessly in the background establishing a new USC Netball Academy so that we have a pathway here for Lightning athletes, this will be one legacy that she has created.

“However, we seem to speak of Jac’s strengths off the court because she is amazing but I cannot be prouder of the netball that she is playing currently.  

“This season especially she has the ability to change a game and especially come up with ball when we need it. Her strategic thinking and read of the game is quite unique and I can’t wait to see what she does during the 2020 finals series.

“I wish the netball world saw more of Jac at a National League level earlier because I honestly believe she could have gone on to further representation honours.

“With Jac finishing up it will leave an enormous gap in our team but we know she will forever be a part of our Lightning family.”

Russell will continue to play out the season as a pivotal member of Lightning’s 2020 finals campaign.

Head Coach Kylee Byrne said it was hard to aptly describe the impact that Russell has around the Club but that she will be greatly missed.

“Jac has been an absolute asset to Lightning since joining us in 2018 and while we’re sad to see her go, she will forever be part of the Lightning family,” Byrne said.

“She’s the ultimate team player who shows such care for those around her, but she’s also the first to lighten the mood with a joke.

“It’s a privilege to have coached Jac over the years and I don’t believe she even recognises the legacy that she will leave behind.”

Russell will continue to play out the season as a pivotal member of Lightning’s 2020 finals campaign.