BACK IN TOWN: Laura Langman has returned to the Lightning.
BACK IN TOWN: Laura Langman has returned to the Lightning. John McCutcheon

New-look Lightning expected to make quick impression

NETBALL: Sunshine Coast coach Noeline Taurau is confident her new-look squad will be in the top two on the ladder by the mid-season break.

The Lightning's full squad assembled for the first time on Tuesday, with the arrival of mid-courter Laura Langman.

And there was an unusually bullish vibe from the coach of the national league's two-time reigning champions.

"Over the last couple of years we've been meek and mild and not really putting ourselves out there until we knew we were in the frame," she said.

"But I really want to back ourselves (this season).

"We've learned a lot over the last two years and at the moment we are premiers and we have been for the last two years so we've got to start rocking that and be very confident about how we play, about our systems and about our club."

The Lightning have lost star players Caitlin Bassett, Geva Mentor and Kelsey Browne.

But Taurua has been buoyed by their best pre-season yet, with the development of established players and with promising signings Peace Proscovia and Phumza Maweni.

"I've got high expectations and I'm going to go for it this year," she said.

"I'm really keen to go into the break either number one or two and I feel confident with the players we have, because they're hard workers.

"Time will tell and I might have to eat my words but I'm really confident with the players we have."

Highly-regarded midcourter Langman says she's not interested in captaining the Lightning, after she returned to the team following a one-year hiatus.

The 32-year-old New Zealand representative's arrival completes the squad ahead of the season, which is due to start in late April.

She was an integral part of their inaugural campaign, but stepped away from the elite ranks last year.

But she couldn't resist the lure of the game.

"Some days I pinch myself and can't believe I'm back here," she said.

"Netball's the type of sport that once it's in your blood, it's in your blood permanently.

"I was really content with where I finished (in 2017) so I'm surprised I'm here but ... this opportunity arose and it felt right."

Taurua said Langman was among those in contention to be captain, who will be largely decided by the players.

But the experienced campaigner almost scoffed when she was asked if she was interested in the role.

"Jeepers, definitely not," she said. "I just need to focus on getting back in the groove.

"I think we've got some fantastic leaders in Madi (McAuliffe), Steph (Wood) ... Karla Pretorius is another great option.

"The strength is in the group to be honest. For me, it's just about getting my feet in those four lines."

She said she'll give 110 per cent to the team's cause, regardless of what role she is asked to play, even if it is "running the water or cleaning out the changing rooms."