The Melbourne Vixens will be without Mwai Kumwenda for the upcoming Super Netball season after the star goaler announced her pregnancy.
Kumwenda announced on Friday she will step away from the court to welcome her first child with partner Wanangwa Chrispine Mbwana.
The Malawi netballer will remain at the club in an off-court capacity.
"Wanangwa and I are very excited to be growing our family," Kumwenda said in a statement on Friday.
"Family is the most important thing for us, and I am grateful to all of my teammates and coaches for all of their love.
"We cannot wait to cheer on the Vixens this season."
Born and raised in southeast Africa, Kumwenda has become an integral part of the Vixens line-up since joining in 2017.
Overcoming an anterior cruciate ligament injury in 2018 and 2019, the 34-year-old stole the show in the Vixens' 2020 grand final triumph and was named player of the match.
Almost unbeatable in the air, Kumwenda is the fourth-most prolific goalscorer in the league with 585 to her name.
"The entire Vixens family is thrilled for 'MJ' and Wanangwa, and we can't wait to welcome their little one into the fold when the time comes," coach Simone McKinnis said.
"We're behind her completely, and we'll continue supporting 'MJ' throughout her pregnancy.
"'MJ' will remain a valuable part of our team throughout season 2024. We look forward to watching on and celebrating as her family grows this year, and welcoming her back when the time is right."
The club has yet to announce a replacement player for Kumwenda.