Ava Black takes on a full contract at the Lightning (Image: Sunshine Coast Lightning)

Sunshine Coast Lightning has elevated former training partner Ava Black to a full contract for the 2024 Super Netball season.

The Toowoomba local debuted in Round 4 last season and was quickly elevated to a temporary replacement player from training partner.

Black played for the Sunshine Coast Thunder in Queensland’s HART Sapphire Series, and was a part of the Sunshine Coast Lightning Bolts in the Australian Netball Championships.

She was also Queensland under 19s vice-captain and a member of the Australian under 19 squad in 2022.

The eight-gamer adores the Lightning environment and can’t wait to make it her permanent home.

“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,” Black said.

“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.

“Getting the official, “you’re ready kid”, from Belinda and ‘Jeno’ (Jenny Brazel) for a 2024 contract [resulted in] 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 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.”

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Lightning Head Coach Belinda Reynolds is proud of Black’s efforts which have secured her first senior contract.

“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,” Reynolds 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.”

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