Bulley joins Giants netball departures

Veteran Bec Bulley announced her retirement, making it three big-name farewells at the Giants, Super Netball's heartbreak club, after their preliminary final loss.

Bulley joined fellow ex-Australian international Susan Pettit in retiring while English centre Serena Guthrie is heading home after the minor premiers bowed out with back-to-back home finals losses to grand finalists West Coast Fever and Sunshine Coast Lighting.

Giants coach Julie Fitzgerald said she was not sure how to feel after a 59-50 loss to the Lightning on Sunday that marks a time of great change at the club.

"Obviously we really wanted to make the grand final for those players that we knew were leaving us and it was sad to see them go out on this note," Fitzgerald said.

"Then again you've got to be grateful that we got this far - we did manage to play a preliminary final and we've been competitive all year."

Pettitt had expected veteran defender Bulley's decision to end her career.

"Bec and I travel up sometimes together to training so I had a feeling she was going to (retire)," she said.

Pettitt struggled against the Lightning's tough defence and admitted missing six shots amid 14 early attempts before being substituted was a tough way to go out.

"Not having a very strong game and cheering from the bench, wishing (Giants) over that line when we were two or three down and we thought we were back in it - but they pushed away again," Pettitt said.

Fitzgerald allowed Pettitt to return to the court to play the final minutes of a stellar career, but the shooter's early replacement by 20-year-old Kiera Austin, rather than go-to change Kristina Brice, was a glimpse of thing to come at Giants.

"We always knew that this was a sort of changing of the guard and I thought to see someone young like Kiera Austin come out there and play as well as she did - that's exciting," Fitzgerald said.