The Club is delighted to announce that emerging trio Ashlee Unie, Maddie Hinchliffe and Annie Lawrie have re-signed at Sunshine Coast Lightning as official Training Partners ahead of next season.
Head Coach Kylee Byrne said the contract extensions are an endorsement of the three players’ ongoing development and their strong contribution to the Lightning program so far.
On court, Unie is highly capable at both Goal Defence and Wing Defence and provides strong coverage for Lightning’s senior side.
Unie has been associated with Lightning since the Club’s inception and in 2021 was awarded the Community Champion Award at the annual gala awards highlighting her off court contribution.
After sustaining a season-ending injury at the beginning of this year, the defender is making positive strides in her ACL rehabilitation and expects to be available in advance of the 2022 season.
Head Coach Kylee Byrne said Unie has a bright future and is an asset to the Club both in her netball and as a person.
“Ash is such a credit to our team at Lightning and I’m really pleased that we can continue to contribute to her netball development next season,” Byrne said.
“The absolute determination shown by her this year has been nothing short of inspirational and I can’t wait to see what she can achieve moving forward.
“We will continue to work closely with Ash on the final stages of her injury rehabilitation before reintegrating back into the full Lightning program.”
Hinchliffe is an immensely talented midcourter who specialises in Wing Defence and Centre.
The midcourter was part of the Club’s senior lineup in the back half of the season and looked highly comfortable at the higher SSN level for a full quarter in the final home and away match.
She also showed her wares in the Australian Netball Championships Lightning team to tour regional Queensland in lieu of the national competition taking place – developing her skills wearing the centre bib.
“Maddie is an exceptional talent and, while quietly spoken, she has made a big impact on her teammates and more broadly around the Club this year,” Byrne said.
“While injury prevented her from getting major court time in 2021, I was thrilled to see her debut in Lightning colours during the season and she stood up as a leader in the Club’s regional ANC tour in September.
“I am confident that an uninterrupted season will enable her to focus on her development and conditioning to best prepare her for the demands of playing through the midcourt in the Super Netball competition.”
Meanwhile, Lawrie, a talented Queensland product, can play at both Goal Attack and Goal Shooter, with a niche for shooting long range.
Lawrie made her Lightning debut in 2020 as part of the extended squad allowance due to the Queensland hub competition format, with 2022 to mark her third year with the Club.
Head Coach Kylee Byrne anticipates it will be a big development year for the shooter.
“We’ve already seen a number of gains in Annie’s game and that will only continue with increased coaching, guidance and maturity,” Byrne said.
“She’s such a bright personality around the Club and I can’t wait to see the improvement in her netball and strategic knowledge in the next 12 months.”
Lightning will publicly announce the remaining Training Partners in the coming days.