Lightning players celebrate their win in the Suncorp Super Netball grand final.
Lightning players celebrate their win in the Suncorp Super Netball grand final. GLENN HUNT

Title-winning Lightning stars will be back to defend crown

THE netball history-makers who grabbed a title in their first year as the Sunshine Coast Lightning will defend it en masse with all 10 players returning for 2018.

It's a rare thing in modern sport to be united in victory and keep a winning squad together through the swirl of different circumstances that hit a champion outfit.

So often a grand final win is the end of a journey as much as a climax for a star player or the perfect sign-off for a veteran or interstate signing.

The Lightning clearly have a hunger for another trophy. Together.

English captain Geva Mentor, South African Karla Mostert, mid-courter Laura Langman and fellow Kiwi Erena Mikaere will be the league of nations at the heart of it again.

Caitlin Bassett, a towering presence in the pulsating 65-48 Super Netball grand final victory last month, will return as the league's most consistent goal shooter.

Her 589 goals at 94 per cent accuracy included 48 in the decider against GWS.

The Lightning have nailed it off-court as well with coaching maestro Noeline Taurua back at the helm.

"We have players returning who were part of establishing this club and its values and that's massive," Taurua said.

"Those 10 athletes have the same mindset which is the intention to get better and build upon what we created."

Netball Australia's confirmation that the next chapter of Suncorp Super Netball will begin in April means an uninterrupted season following the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

"It (extra time) provides us with a fantastic opportunity to be even more specific, efficient and effective to ensure what we put out on court next year is even better," Taurua said.